The Robeline Rocket -- aka Caleb Dillard, 18, of Robeline, La., -- is one of nine finalists competing in the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge that wraps up today in Charlotte, N.C. Dillard is going through a three-day test behind the wheel of different race cars on a variety of courses. He’s the reigning champion of Sabine Motor Speedway in Many, La.
Hundreds of aspiring stock car drivers applied to be in the challenge that boasts coaching from Danika Patrick, and the ability to hobnob with potential sponsors. Dillard’s entry consisted of a home video shot in his race car garage.
“It was nothing fancy. They said they weren’t looking for Hollywood stars," Dillard said, during a break from the track. "My mom and dad said, Let’s redo it one more time. I said, No, that’s myself. If they don’t want me, they don’t want me. If they do, they do.”
If Dillard wins the challenge, he’ll be equipped with a sponsored stock car and the ability to race in a NASCAR-sanctioned event in the fall. Dillard said his strong suit is his personality and the ability to connect with people off the track.
“I feel good. I feel like I’ve put my all into it, and that’s all I can do," Dillard said. "I know a lot of people who’ve noticed me. But, we’re all so closely matched I know it will be a hard decision (for the judges.)"
PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge winner will be announced today. But the results will be kept under wraps until Aug. 11 when the cable television network Speed airs a segment on the racing competition.