ELLSWORTH — Ever since he’s been old enough to walk, it’s been next to impossible to keep Wyatt Alexander away from the race track.
Over the course of his racing career, Alexander, who graduated from Ellsworth High School in 2017, has gone from racing go-karts to legends cars to super late models. After winning a recent nationwide contest, Alexander will have even more resources at his disposal as he makes his way to tracks across America.
Alexander was named winner of the Valvoline Fast Track to Fame Contest on July 17. He beat out over 800 other finalists nationally to win a prize of $10,000 cash and $40,000 worth of supplies courtesy of Valvoline.
“It’s really special to get such a great gift from Valvoline to help my family race team like this,” Alexander said. “I got a lot of support from so many people, and we’ll be able to do some really great things.”
Alexander was made aware of the contest a few months into his freshman year at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He then began compiling an entry with his racing background and pictures of him racing on local speedways in Hermon, Wiscasset and Scarborough and dozens of others throughout New England and the United States over the course of his young life.
“They posted the contest requirements online back in the late fall, and my dad emailed me and called me about it and told me I should think about entering it,” Alexander said. “A few weeks later, I checked out the process and knew I wanted to get involved in it.”
Alexander was required to submit a bio of 300-500 words explaining his affinity for the sport and why he would be a worthy prize winner. In his essay, he wrote about his family race team, Wyatt Alexander Racing, and how love for the sport took him from racing go-karts at the age of 4 to studying mechanical engineering in North Carolina, a state where passion for racing runs deep.
Earlier this summer, voters got the chance to vote for each of the 800 racers who applied for the $50,000 prize. The top 10 vote-getters were then narrowed down to four finalists based on whom the contest judges deemed most worthy, and Alexander made both cuts.
“I had everybody back home in Maine and my new friends at college here in North Carolina voting for my every day,” Alexander said. “It felt even better to advance to that last four because it showed that I had awesome support from my friends and family and that the judges really liked my story.”
The final round of voting pitted Alexander against Morgan Ward of Watertown, S.D., Jonathan McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass., and John Baker of French Lick, Ind. Voters were allowed to vote for each finalist once per day on the Valvoline website between mid-May and early July.
Valvoline officials didn’t give Alexander the exact vote total but did inform him he had narrowly edged out Ward to win the contest. He would have received a prize of some sort of no matter what as a finalist, but winning provided him with a much more valuable package than the $7,000 one he would have received for coming in second.
“I was hoping I could pull it out, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy because you had all four contestants having their family members and friends vote like crazy,” Alexander said. “It was an awesome feeling when they told me I won.”
2018 marked the first year of the Fast Track to Fame contest, which Valvoline tailored to racers who from “asphalt, dirt, motorcycle, snow and variety of other classifications.” In the company’s eyes, Alexander, who had received the required 50 votes from 50 unique voters in the first round and impressed the final judging panel with his entry, was a worthy winner.
“This program was an opportunity to show our continued support for motorsports and those who live the ‘Never Idle’ mantra that Valvoline is rooted in,” Valvoline Sports Marketing and Entertainment Executive Travis Montgomery said. “We were looking for someone with grit, passion and drive, and there is no doubt we found those qualities and more in Wyatt.”
Although Alexander had yet to receive the prize as of this past weekend, he still made the trip from Charlotte to Ellsworth to work on his two Chevrolet super late models. When he does receive his prize, he’ll put it to good use with his fellow race team members: his father, Brett, and his grandfather, Bob.
“I have a couple things in mind, but it’s probably going to take me a little time before I really make my mind up,” Alexander said. “There’s a lot of opportunities with the money and supplies they gave me, and my family and friends made it possible. I can’t thank everybody enough.”