16-year-old Zach Nicholson of Ossipee, New Hampshire has made significant strides in his racing career in just a few short years. In 2018, the talented driver will continue his growth at a new racetrack; Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire. Nicholson finished runner-up in the 2017 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Wildcats division, earning his first feature win on the last night of competition. He won Rookie of the Year honors in the division in 2016. In addition to those achievements, Zach received the UNOH Youth Achievement Award and Scholarship in both 2016 and 2017. When the opportunity for Zach to advance his career once again fell into his lap, he just couldn’t turn his back on the idea.
Zach came to the decision to move into a Late Model Sportsman with the help and guidance of his devoted parents, John and Angela. “It all came together when my Dad and I sat down and talked about the expenses of Pro Stocks to Late Models. We thought that Late Models would still be in our budget and fun. Plus, there would be cleaner racing and we could go do more racing,” Zach says. He’s excited to take on the challenge of competing at a faster track with a bigger banking than that of Beech Ridge. Although this year will be his rookie year in the Late Model Sportsman division, this won’t be his first experience racing at Lee.
When his racing career was just beginning, Zach competed in the 4-cylinder Pure Stock division. He was just 13 at the time, trying to learn more about the world of racing. “It’s a fast and high banked track, plus it’s well run. Some challenges about the track are adapting from a flat track to high banked, with faster corners, faster speeds, tighter racing, more cars and longer racing,” he says. The 5-division program is also different than that of Beech Ridge. The Friday night program consists of Super Modifieds, Late Model Sportsmen, Hobby Stocks, Iron Man and Pure Stocks. Zach will be competing alongside Nate Leavitt, Frankie Eldredge, Bryan Kruczek, Max Dolliver and others.
In addition to adapting to a different style racetrack, Zach will be facing the challenge of adapting to a completely different racecar. “Late Models are more touchy to adjustments and Wildcats are more rough than Late Models. You have to have smoother driving in a Late Model compared to a Wildcat,” he explains. You can be more aggressive behind the wheel of a Wildcat, but using that same technique behind the wheel of a Late Model could get you into trouble on the track.
Although he’s starting a new chapter in his racing career, Zach is still grateful for the past and the learning experiences that he has been a part of. “Being able to learn from veterans and have them give me pointers to be able to achieve my goals was a great experience. Ending my season with my first career feature win felt good after working so hard all year to be able to do just that. It was a challenging year and that took a huge load off of our shoulders,” he says.
The decision to race at Lee this season was an easy one for the Nicholson family. The Late Model they bought was already set up for Lee, so they don’t have to make many adjustments to the car. Plus, it is the home track for the family. “It feels better knowing more of my family can come,” he adds. Zach has a large support system, consisting of his own family, fellow drivers, family friends and more. Before every race, there’s always a large circle of people at the Nicholson trailer and the family is very inviting to anyone that shows their support to the #21 team and the young driver.
Zach’s most excited for the 100-lap Late Model race at Lee this year, making it the longest race that he’s ever been a part of. He’s not hanging up his helmet quite yet in the Wildcats, either. This past December, he traveled down to the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Florida with Lewis “Dirty Lew” Anderson, helping him prepare the #81 for battle down at 5 Flags Speedway. Zach is planning on making the journey down to the speedway himself in 2018, competing on Derby weekend in his #21 Wildcat. His biggest goals for the upcoming race season are to win Rookie of the Year honors in his division and to have a consistent car every week.
As previously mentioned, Zach was awarded with the UNOH Youth Achievement Award and Scholarship this past season. He plans to follow in the footsteps of other local drivers and attend the University of Northwestern Ohio once he graduates high school. He has family in Ohio, so he won’t feel to far from home once he makes that move. He plans on joining the High Performance Motorsports program once he gets to UNOH and is also taking vocational classes in Auto Technology Level 2 at his school.
He’s making tremendous strides on his own, but Zach remains thankful to his family, friends and sponsors that have helped him out along the way. He thanks his parents for their never-ending support and for helping him make his racing dreams come to life. He also lends thanks to his Uncle Mike and Aunt Peg, who lend help to the race team. Jay Curtis, Jayden Curtis, Kyle Kramlich, Alex Dargi, Darryl Quinlan, Ashley Nicholson, and his friends Nate and Tomi are all a part of his circle of supporters that are there for Zach week in & week out. His sponsors Kid Logic, Overhead Door Options, Chasing the Checkered, Hall Construction, Templeton Snowmobiles and Life in Focus Photography have also helped make the 2018 race season possible for Nicholson Racing.
Zach recently debuted his new paint scheme for 2018 at the Northeast Motorsports Expo in Augusta, Maine. The red, yellow and blue paint scheme was worked up by fellow driver Connor McDougal of Eleveight Designs. Zach says that Connor was the “mastermind” behind every color and design on both his helmet and his car. Zach was gifted his new racing helmet after the conclusion of the 2017 racing season at the Awards Banquet, with family and friends pitching in to give Zach a helmet that matches his 2018 paint scheme perfectly.
Zach has a learning curve in front of him with the transition to a new track and a new style of racing, but he is excited to take on the challenge and see what 2018 brings him. The Season Opener is on Friday, June 1st at 7:00 pm. Come on out to the Season Opener to see what Zach can do and to enjoy 5 exciting divisions of racing. We look forward to seeing you there!
Follow Nicholson racing on Social Media here:
Follow Lee USA Speedway on Social Media here: