Young driver making mark at track

Sarnia’s Jaden Chapman, 20, is racing stock cars at Delaware Speedway. Barry Wright

Barry Wright

Some people relieve stress by hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range; others prefer a spirited game of one-on-one basketball.

Sarnia’s Jaden Chapman has a unique stress-buster. He likes to barrel around a one-half mile oval track in a ’76 Camaro at an average speed of 130 kilometer per hour.

At the age of 20 he is the second-youngest racer in the V8 Stocks class at Delaware Speedway, near London.

“When I’m done a race I could easily go another thousand laps,” he said.  “It’s just me out there in the car and no one is looking over my shoulder or breathing down my neck. It’s a nice getaway.”

After tagging along as a toddler with his dad Scott, a competitor at Delaware in the mid-1990’s, Jaden bought his first car at the age of 14 and started his own racing career.

“It’s a real family atmosphere at the raceway,” he said.  “We compete hard, but when the race is over we all hang out with each other.”

The SCITS and Johnston Memorial alumnus has had his ups and downs this season, including engine problems, but still stands fifth in the overall point standings.

Chapman’s best race this season was a third place finish in early June.

Last season, he was fifth in the Enduro class point standings.

His next scheduled race is Friday, Aug. 29.

Chapman aspires to drive stock cars professionally but knows that sponsors with deep pockets are the key to that dream.

“Hopefully I’ll get a big break sometime,” he said.

But, in the interim, his feet are planted firmly on the ground and he is apprenticing as a mechanic at Sarnia Fine Cars.