By Cole Cusumano, Staff Writer
For 16-year-old Ryder Wells, his rookie season racing Pro Trucks at Houston Motorsports Park is going almost as well as it possibly could entering the Mid-Season Championships on Saturday, June 10.
As Wells prepares for the main event, he enters as the Pro Trucks points leader by one over Rick Pollaro, with only two points separating him from Doug Gibson and Jaron Hasley tied for third.
“We’re sitting points leader right now,” Wells said. “Hopefully we can keep our momentum up and keep doing what we’re doing so we can win the Pro Trucks Mid-Season Points Award.”
Wells has put his competitors on notice as a youngster with a never-say-die attitude and the ability to battle through constant adversity – which is likely why he’s put himself in position to be battling for the Pro Truck Midseason Championship as a rookie.
In his first race at the 0.375-mile Texas track, Wells was able to salvage a seventh-place finish after a broken control arm took them out of contention for their first victory of 2023. Most recently, the driver of the No. 24 impressed with a fourth-place outing in only his second start in the Pro Trucks at HMP.
In addition to scoring his first top-five, Wells and his team were met with early trouble in the form of rear gear, which locked up and had to be replaced between practice and the main event. It was either that or go home. The Ryder Wells Racing team borrowed a rear gear from another team and went to work switching out the broken gear.
“This season, I’ve learned how much harder it is to work on the truck and how it takes more people to help out,” Wells said. “We’d be able to tear down a sprint car in a matter of a couple of hours if something were to happen to it.
“I also learned you have to be more patient inside the truck. You can’t just go around the outside of someone like you could in a sprint car. You also have to study the guys in front of you more closely to anticipate what they’re going to do.”
Only two points separate Wells from what could either be a Mid-Season Championship or a fourth-ranked effort on Saturday at Houston Motorsports Park. Given how he and the team have performed through both races in 2023, it would be a surprise if the Lumberton, Texas native didn’t walk away with the Pro Trucks Mid-Season Points Award.
While the obvious goal for Wells is to win it all at the end of the year, securing the Mid-Season Championship would significantly help his case for bigger future racing ambitions.
“The end goal for this season is to win the championship and win rookie of the year, but we obviously need sponsors and money, so we can move up in the ARCA Menards Series next year and move up in the rankings. Right now, we have really great sponsors in Universal Coin and Bullion, Mike Smith’s Tire Pros and of course, Kickin’ the Tires. But none of my racing would be possible without the support of my parents and my sister Chaise, who’s my biggest cheerleader. Mom runs the show but my dad is my crew chief, car chief, engine builder and body mechanic all in one.”