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Racing is passion of Ceres third-grader
8-year-old driven by weekend motorsports
Rylee Smallwood
Carroll Fowler Elementary third-grader Rylee Smallwood had a success-filled first season competing in the Stock 170 Class of the E-Street Motor Cross Short Course Series.

Carroll Fowler Elementary School third-grader Rylee Smallwood was destined to follow in the footsteps of her family.

Father Randy Jr. and grand-father Randy both have a deep personal connection to motorsports.

Randy Jr. races and Randy is a track official.

Great-grandfather Ron also competed.

“I used to watch my dad race,” said Rylee, 8. “It inspired me a lot. That’s why I like motorsports.”

“It’s a different type of proudness,” said Randy Jr., 39. “When they want to do what you did, it’s a whole other level. It’s brought our relationship a lot closer. We talk about everything.”

“I knew when she was of age she would want to race,” he added. “She had a quad when she was 3. I bought her an RZR 170 for Christmas when she was 5. We took it out one time and she was hooked.”

Smallwood enjoyed a success-filled year while driving her Polaris RZR 170 Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) to a first-place finish in the Stock 170 Class of the 2022 E-Street Motor Cross Short Course Series.

She totaled 124 points.

She placed second twice, and third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth once during the season.

Smallwood took eighth in the points standings in the Mod 170 Class.

She finished first and fourth once en route to earning 43 points.

“My dad and uncle have helped me a lot,” Rylee said.

“I took a year off so she could race full time,” Randy Jr. said. “Me and my buddy Joseph Azevedo built her car. She helps me work on the car and prep it. She knows the car inside out.”

Smallwood finished second in points while competing in four events in the Valley Off-Road Racing Association last year.

Normal races consist of 8-12 laps per heat.

UTVs can reach speeds faster than 35 miles per hour.

“I was nervous my first race,” Rylee said.

“We do a lot of practice on our test track in Turlock,” Randy Jr. said. “She does anywhere from 300-400 laps between races.”

Smallwood’s sponsors have helped cover the cost of travel expenses, entry fees and car maintenance.

Jet Cut Manufacturing, Kick Sand Apparel, Moto Race Tires, TCS Suspension and Rugged Radios have all provided assistance.

“We couldn’t do this without them,” Randy Jr. said. “It can get extremely costly especially if she crashes the car.”

Smallwood’s classmates even know about her passion for motorsports.

“She brought her car in for show and tell last year,” Randy Jr. said. “All the kids asked questions.”

“Schooling comes first before racing. I told her if her grades drop, her racing stops.”
Randy Smallwood Jr. on his daughter's racing

“Schooling comes first before racing,” he added. “I told her if her grades drop, her racing stops.”

Always striving to be the best, Smallwood has proven her talent against male competition.

“It’s not just a guy sport anymore,” Randy Jr. said. “There are a lot of girls making a career of it. If she wants to keep doing this, and is still having fun, I’m all aboard for that.”

“I do want to do this for a long time because it’s my passion,” Rylee said. “I like going really fast. I really enjoy the straightaways and the corners. It’s really fun.”

Randy Jr. and Rylee have grown closer these past few years due to their shared interest in motorsports.

“Spending time with her and watching her develop into a better driver have been the most enjoyable parts,” Randy Jr. said. 

“I want her to be able to work on her cars when she’s older and not have to depend on males,” he added. “She knows her tools already. If I’m under the car, and ask her to grab me a half-inch wrench, she can go to the toolbox and get it. It’s the best of both worlds. I take her to get her hair and nails done.”

“When I was 6, I asked my dad if I could race,” Rylee stated. “I was surprised he said yes. Getting dirty really isn’t for girls but I really like it.”

Randy Smallwood Jr. and his daughter Rylee have strengthened their bond through racing.