Jay Beasley's road to becoming a 2013 NASCAR champion was arduous. His achievements this year were built from a ground zero of utter disappointment.

The 21-year-old Las Vegas competitor worked his way from the bottom in 2012 to the top in 2013.

This year Beasley won the NASCAR Super Late Model track championship at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Nevada state championship. He won his first career NASCAR Super Late Model feature and added seven more. He made two starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He received an invitation to be one of 20 to participate the NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine in October and is a candidate for a 2014 seat in Rev Racing's driver development program.

He wrapped up the racing season up by winning the Bulling's Fall Classic 150 and first-place prize money of $10,000.

At the Dec. 13 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series awards event he was the recipient of NASCAR's prestigious Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award for outstanding performance.

"When we won our first race of the season, that opened the door for all possibilities one race at a time," Beasley said. "It's an amazing experience."
Beasley, his dad Rod Ronnow and crew chief Jimmy Parker Sr. started with nothing - not even a race car - and focused their talent and raw determination to achieve unimaginable heights.

Beasley established himself in NASCAR Super Late Models at The Bullring in 2011. He had a momentum-building rookie-of-the-year season with a fifth-place finish in track points and became a personable rising star among fans.

But his 2012 season started and ended on the same February day. His refreshed and fine-tuned race car was destroyed during its first test session. A suspension component caused a concealed tire rub that ultimately led to a cut, sending the speeding car into the wall. Beasley was shaken but otherwise okay. His only race car was destroyed.

"Losing everything we worked for was hard to choke down," Beasley said.

Quickly refocused, Beasley and team began the long road back. They obtained a new Howe chassis and built it from the ground up as the family team budget allowed. He didn't race again until the Bullring's 2012 Fall Classic in October. He was competitive and got comfortable in his new ride. He was running fourth late in the race when debris damaged an oil line fitting, ending his race.

"After that race, I knew I had something with that car in my back pocket that we didn't put on the table," Beasley said. "It was a confidence booster. We worked hard to be competitive when we finally got back on track.

"Sometimes there are more downs than ups in racing," Beasley said. "We kept a positive attitude and just kept digging."

Beasley is disciplined in a physical fitness program that includes weight and cardio training. His workouts became more intense while not racing.

"I worked out more than ever," Beasley said. "I wanted to better myself so I would be in the best condition possible when I got back in the car. I wanted to be mentally and physically at my best."

His first career Super Late Model wins on opening night were a huge reward.

"When I was in victory lane, I was excited. Jimmy and my dad were crying. What we accomplished didn't really hit me until the next day. I was thinking now that we've won a race we have to go do it again next week to prove we belong. That's what we did."

In addition to his eight wins, Beasley's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championship winning record included 13 top-fives and 14 top-10s in 14 starts. He won the track and state titles over Scott Gafforini, a four-time track champion and two-time state titlist.

Beasley was interested in racing by age seven, and began his career in Go-Ped scooters in 2002. He raced in Legend Cars in 2007-10, and then stepped up to NASCAR Super Late Models at the Bullring in 2011.

"We had a new car, new crew chief and new engine builder this year," Beasley said. "My dad worked to give me a chance to race. We wouldn't be racing at all without his support. Jimmy Parker Sr. joined us as crew chief. He worked with a lot of young drivers including Kurt and Kyle Busch when they raced here. Dana Stahl Race Cars helped us build the new car and Howard Holmes at Vegas Machine builds great motors."

Completing the team are spotter Jimmy Parker Jr., videographer Michael Tolzmann and David Buck. The Toyota Camry's primary sponsor is Wet-Tec Sprinkler Repair & Landscaping operated by Beasley's father. Simpson Race Products and Champion Spark Plugs also support the team.

Today Beasley is a fulltime racer, but is a past instructor for Dream Racing, an exotic car (Ferrari) driving experience on Las Vegas Motor Speedway's 1.1-mile, 11-turn road course.
"I don't know what 2014 season will bring," Beasley said, "but I'm looking forward to it."

Story courtesy Jason Christley, NASCAR