Son's Racing Desire Got Walton Behind the Wheel
Neil Walton’s racing career started simply because his son wanted to race.
The Englevale-area farmer started racing in the Mini Stocks in 2016. His son, Gavin, now 14, had expressed a strong interest in getting behind the wheel.
“I started racing because Gavin wanted to race,” Neil said. “I always wanted to race as a kid. I built him that 17X car, and put everything brand new in it because I was going to put my son in it. I took it out, tested it, and tried to get it set up, I enjoyed it so much I built another car (for him).”
Neil already has a feature win this season at Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon. Not only has Walton gotten his son in the sport, but along with Matt Bogart, is working to build the Mini Stock class at Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon. The class is averaging just over 20 cars per night this season.
Walton has built at least five cars that are on the track weekly along with helping a pair of other drivers — with more in the works. Bogart and Larry Dickinson to the cage work for a majority of the cars in the class.
“I’d say it’s a mix of helping Matt build the class, and getting new blood into racing that drives me the most,” Neil Walton said. “People need to see how cheap and fun it really is, then they want to join.”
The class has several teenagers racing, including Gavin Walton, who is second in the point standings at Sheyenne behind Matt Bogart. He has four top five finishes at Sheyenne this season. And he will be a freshman at Lisbon High School this fall.
“It’s just the adrenaline rush of it,” Gavin Walton said of what he enjoys.
Kelby Anderson of Fort Ransom, 14, won a feature driving one of Walton’s cars a few weeks ago, with a car nicknamed Bob. Just last week, 12-year-old Cole Greseth of Harwood won the Mini Stock feature.
“The more kids that get into it, the more fun they have,” Neil Walton said. “And it’s inexpensive.”
Gavin Walton is learning every time out on the track.
“I need to learn how to drive the car better. At first I didn’t really care and did whatever, and now I know what I need to do,” Gavin Walton said.
“I’m not pushing him. I don’t care if he wins every night, he doesn’t care if he wins every night,” Neil said. “He’s out there having fun. That’s the best thing to me.”
In addition to farming, Walton also builds custom vehicles, including several of the race cars.
“I’ve always been a huge car guy,” Neil said. “You can’t find a cheaper hobby on Sunday nights.”
Neil and Gavin Walton
Cars: Mini Stocks 7X and 17X
Hometown: Englevale, N.D.
Sponsors: Extreme Motorsports, Milnor Fabrication, SRD, Chaotic Canvas, TA’s Auto Body, Walton Farms, Beast Custom Works