Eastport teen notches first ‘Bandolero’ racing victory

Drew Greenlaw of Eastport won his first career feature race Saturday in the Bandolero division at Petty Raceway in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick. The 15-year-old is the only American driver his division.
Courtesy of Gerald Greenlaw
Drew Greenlaw of Eastport won his first career feature race Saturday in the Bandolero division at Petty Raceway in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick. The 15-year-old is the only American driver his division.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted May 20, 2013, at 8:13 p.m.

EASTPORT, Maine — Eastport’s Drew Greenlaw has plenty of trophies from racing Bandolero cars in New Brunswick.

Bandolero cars are miniature race cars (one-third the size of a normal Late Model) powered by Briggs and Stratton 570 cc Vanguard engines. They are primarily for drivers ages 10 to 16 and can reach 80-85 miles per hour.

But there was one prize missing from his trophy case: One for first place.

Not any more.

Greenlaw, who turned 15 earlier this month, won a 20-lap feature at Petty International Raceway at River Glade, New Brunswick.

He is in his third season racing Bandolero cars at Petty International Raceway and at Speedway 660 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

None of Maine’s six racetracks offer a Bandolero division, so Greenlaw has had to travel two hours to Fredericton or three hours to River Glade the past three years.

He finished second in points at Speedway 660 and third at Petty International Raceway last season but he never won a race.

“My closet has a stack full of trophies for second and third place,” said Greenlaw, who was ecstatic about taking his first checkered flag.

“It was exciting. It was something new for me,” said Greenlaw. “It was special.”

He won his heat race to earn the pole and crossed the finish line six car-lengths ahead of his closest pursuer, according to his father, Gerald Greenlaw.

Drew Greenlaw said his goal this season was to win a race.

Now that he has already accomplished that, he said his next goal is to win “the points championship at Fredericton and maybe Petty, too. But I’m not sure.”

Greenlaw is a third-generation racer.

His paternal grandfather Roy Greenlaw and his father Gerald were Late Model racers and maternal grandfather Dana Turner raced Sportsman cars.

“I’ve seen pictures of my dad and videos of him racing,” said Drew, who has always been a racing fan.

“I watch [NASCAR] all the time on television,” said Greenlaw, who said he enjoys the adrenaline rush he gets from racing.

Greenlaw will make a major transition later this season.

Lonnie Sommerville, who finished fifth in the Pro All-Stars Series Super Late Model points standings last year, intends to put him in one of his Late Model cars for three races at Speedway 660, according to the Greenlaws.

Lonnie Sommerville Racing is one of his sponsors.

“That will be pretty cool. It will be a challenge. I’ve never been in a Late Model car before,” said Drew.

He also has some other exciting plans for the summer.

The Bandoleros are going to run two races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.

“That will be fun. It will be a good opportunity for me,” said Greenlaw, who is also hoping to gain some experience by working at Sommerville’s race shop in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Gerald Greenlaw noted that his son will also race at the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut.

The Greenlaws aren’t sure about next season.

Drew can run one more season in bandoleros or he could transition to Late Models.

“We’ll see what happens with the Late Model cars. We’ll see if I can even fit in the Bandolero car,” said Drew, who is 6-foot-2 and weighs 145 pounds.

Drew is more than just an auto racer.

He also plays baseball, basketball and soccer at Eastport’s Shead High School, where he is a freshman.

But racing is his top priority.

Gerald Greenlaw said they are fortunate to have some quality sponsors like Lighthouse Lobster and Bait in Eastport, Martin’s Home Heating (N.B.) and Lonnie Sommerville Racing.

“The whole community has been so supportive,” said Gerald Greenlaw.

The Greenlaws don’t mind the travel.

“It’s kind of fun. It adds to the experience,” said Gerald Greenlaw.

“We have a camper in Fredericton,” pointed out Drew.

The tracks race on different nights beginning later this spring, as Petty International Raceway races on Friday night and Speedway 660’s features are on Saturday night.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/05/20/sports/eastport-teen-notches-first-bandolero-racing-victory/ printed on December 26, 2014