Racing is in Allen Hackworth’s blood.
The driver doesn’t deny the deep family roots that influenced his desire to race on a dirt track.
According to Hackworth, the trend began with his uncle, Owen Hackworth, and his father, Allen Hackworth Sr.
Uncle Owen drove and his dad made sure he could.
The 33-year-old Hackworth said he grew up surrounded by cars, tires and all the things required to build the metal machines his uncle and father were hoping could put them first at the checkered flag every weekend.
“My dad was always working on a car. Building them and fixing them. It’s what we did,” Hackworth recalled.
After his uncle decided to step away from driving, Hackworth’s father climbed into the driver’s seat.
Unsurprisingly, Hackworth soon followed.
“I’m a third generation driver. It’s been a family thing for us since I was born and it’s been great to have everyone involved with it. We like it a lot,” the driver said of racing.
Hackworth will be one of many local drivers who fans can meet when the Richmond Raceway presents Meet the Drivers night on Saturday at the track.
The driver joked that it was almost destined the family would end up in racing somehow.
“When I was born, my family lived across the road from the Richmond Raceway. My parents heard the cars and racing all the time, so it was just a matter of time before they got involved with it. They heard it all the time, might as well hear it from the track,” Hackworth explained.
Ever since he first climbed into a race car, Hackworth said he knew racing would have a huge impact on his life.
“It’s the only thing I really knew. It kept me out of a lot trouble growing up. You can’t get into much if you are working on a car all the time. I love it. Everything I’ve got is because of racing,” Hackworth said.
He’s not exaggerating.
Hackworth got his job and met his wife because of racing.
The driver said he and his dad were looking to buy a car and that he ended up meeting his wife, Brittany, instead.
Hackworth and his wife now have two sons, Austin and Maverick.
“Me and my dad went over there to buy a car Brittany’s dad had for sale. We got there and started talking and became friends with the family. I got to know her and her family that way,” Hackworth explained.
“I went to buy a car and ended up with a wife,” the driver joked. “I didn’t even end up buying the car.”
Hackworth said he met his future boss on the track — as a competitor.
“He was a driver too,” Hackworth explained. “I’m telling you — I owe so much to racing.”
Another bonus of following in his family’s footsteps on the dirt track is the close relationship he maintains with his father.
Hackworth Sr. is a fixture at Richmond Raceway. His long stint at the local track and penchant for helping other drivers has even earned him a nickname — Pit Daddy.
“It’s pretty great to have him there with me,” Hackworth said of his father. “I tell everybody all the time, I’m just the driver. My dad is the one that deserves the credit. He keeps everything running. I’d quit if he wasn’t there helping me.”
Hackworth said his father sticks by him through thick and thin.
“Well, it’s racing, and you’re going to wreck sometimes and get beat up out there,” Hackworth said. “He’s the one that’s got to fix it if I break it.”
Hackworth doesn’t wreck many now, but admitted his dad had a big job the first time 14-year-old Hackworth raced a car.
That excursion only lasted a few minutes.
“It was a mechanic’s race. I crashed out the first lap out,” Hackworth said with a laugh. “I was coming off the first corner and I did exactly what my dad told me to do. I ended up tearing off the whole rear end of the car and messed up the other car next to me.”
He didn’t let that early setback get him down and Hackworth has netted more than a 100 wins during his career as a driver.
The driver races the No. 33 car and competes in the 4 cylinder and KDRA super stock.
He still gets butterflies before every race.
“I think you get nervous every time you get out on the track. It’s a different world in (the car.) It’s definitely an adrenaline rush,” Hackworth explained. “I’m pretty aggressive out there. We try to make it work. Try to win.”
While Hackworth has competed on many tracks, he said the Richmond Raceway is special to him.
“It’s just home to us,” he said. “It’s one of the hardest tracks I go on, which makes it really satisfying when you win.”
Hackworth said he hopes the family tradition will continue and that he can share the sport his loves with his two sons.
“It would be nice to keep it going,” the driver said. “I owe it so much and we’ve had a pretty good career at it. I’d love to share that.”