Waxahachie man looks to make name for himself on the track
For Merritt Sellers, his dream of reaching a NASCAR track is one of those “better late than never” things.
The Waxahachie resident has dreams of racing for NASCAR and said he has most of his life.
“When I was a kid growing up in Fort Worth, my dad would take me to Cowtown Motor Speedway in Kennedale,” Sellers said. “We’d watch the trucks and the cars, and I loved it as a kid. I always wanted to race, but didn’t know where to go.”
Meanwhile Sellers’ focus shifted to middle school and high school, as well as his new passion of music. But for years, the idea of racing remained in the back of his mind. Then in 2015, his boss gave him tickets to a NASCAR race.
“That really sparked a flame,” Sellers said.
He began talking with race teams to figure out how to make his dream become a reality. Sellers quickly learned he had a steep hill to climb.
“Most drivers start when they’re 5,” Sellers said. “I’m 28. So I have a lot of catching up to do.”
In 2019, Sellers bought his first racecar, an old vehicle that had been designed for road racing, and converted it to race on the dirt. Soon after, he joined the Lone Star Dwarf Car Club, a racing organization that features cars modeled after 1940s panel vans and pickup trucks – his car is allowed since the chassis is the same. Sellers’ car is a 1934 Ford Coupe, or at least a miniature version of it. The cars are five-eighths in scale and use a motorcycle engine.
“Sounds like a bunch of angry bees out there,” Sellers said, laughing.
He said in his first year with the organization he finished by ranking 17th out of 72 racers – good enough to give him hope of a future in racing.
For now, Sellers said he races once or twice a month at the Kennedale Speedway Park. But he said he’s trying to get on with the Gulf Coast Racing Series near Houston, which features NASCAR trucks.
He said the series is sanctioned by NASCAR, which, with experience, he said could lead to getting a NASCAR license to race in the organization’s events or start his own team.
Sellers said that jump would likely be based more on experience than ranking.
“It’s about knowing I can jump into any car, control it and drive fast enough to keep up with the other racers,” Sellers said.
He said the key is to find good sponsors to buy his car and equipment.
Sellers said within a year he would like to be competing in a pro truck series. Within five years he hopes to own a NASCAR Truck Series team of three to four drivers.
“I’d like that to be based here in Waxahachie,” Sellers said. “It would be cool to have a NASCAR team based here. It would help get people interested in it, and I want to show people that this is how you can do it.”
As far as his long-term goal, Sellers said he would like to be competing at the Daytona 500 in the next 10 years. He hopes at that point he will be established enough to where he can open a racing school to teach others about the sport he loves.
That includes debunking a common myth about racing.
“It’s not as easy as it looks,” Sellers said. “When people watch NASCAR a lot of them think it’s just about turning left all the time. But it’s more involved than that. There’s a science and a technology behind it. There’s so much yet to learn. You have to know how the car handles and how it drives. The main challenge is knowing how it works off and on the track. Nobody showed me. I had to learn on my own.”
So far the experience has paid off, and he looks to improve his finishes in the coming weeks. His next race is at the Dirt Nationals at Texas Motor Speedway. The event will include the Lone Star Dwarf Club, as well as other classes such as modified and stock racing. The event runs Sept. 13-18, and Sellers will be competing Sept. 13-17.
“I hope everyone can go and enjoy some good racing,” he said.
For more information about Sellers follow Merritt Sellers Racing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.