Championship Drive: Rusty Houptadmin
Rusty Houpt was used to going fast even before he strapped into his black number 64 Mulder Engineered Race Engines Junior Late Model. A veteran of throwing Outlaw Karts around The Dirt Track at Meridian Speedway, Houpt relished the chance to follow in his father’s footsteps and climb behind the wheel of a full-fledged stock car.
Houpt, along with four other competitors, got his chance in 2019 with the creation of the Mulder’s Engineered Race Engines Junior Late Models, a significant step up from the low-tech, Hornet-type cars of the Junior Stinger and High School Tuner divisions. Utilizing a rule book similar to the existing Coors Super Stock division, the five Mulder’s Engineered Race Engines Junior Late Model competitors were introduced to heavy, well-powered, rear-wheel-drive cars, something to this point lacking in the developmental divisions. The results were seven thrilling features, each faster and more competitive than the last.
Among Houpt’s challengers were Jody Moen, once touted as the world’s youngest late model driver, Bailey Fanopoulos, a veteran of the Junior Stinger ranks, Sam Newcomer Jr., son of Teleperformance Street Stock racer Sam Newcomer, and Junior Stinger racer John Clever.
Leaning heavily on his Outlaw Kart experience to keep his Boise Spring Works, Drip Catchers LLC machine on the ragged edge, Houpt was able to score four straight feature wins during the summer months to lock himself atop the standings and claim the inaugural Mulder’s Engineered Race Engines Junior Late Model title.