It takes many people to keep CCM Racing going, not the least of which are our crew members who accompany the team to the racetrack during the season.
One of those individuals is Colton Collins, a 17-year-old Oklahoma native who is an aspiring racer himself and joined the team just a few years ago.
Don’t let his age fool you – Colton has been involved in racing in some capacity since he was six years old, spending some time as a driver, a team owner, and, of course, a crew member.
He first got a taste for racing after a classmate informed him of a “10 laps for $10” event at Tulsa Quarter Midgets Association.
You can probably guess what happened next.
“We went out there, I got in a car all suited up, went out on the track and, well … we wound up leaving with a car that day,” Colton recalled.
From that point on, Colton was hooked. Over the course of his quarter midget career, which lasted until 2018, Colton accrued six track championships, one regional championship, multiple track records, and lots of race wins.
It was around this time when he met CCM Racing owner/driver Eric Caudell at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Jennings, Oklahoma.
“I knew someone who was running Legends out at Hallett,” recalled Colton. “We were looking at that stuff to maybe get into and do some driving in some Legends stuff. We were out there with them and were just walking around and I saw some old NASCAR trucks. I walked up to Eric and saw his ARCA hat and asked if he raced ARCA or owns a team or what. He told me he owns a team and I oughta come out to his shop one day.”
Colton did, and joined the team regularly at the track afterwards, gaining experience that has proven to be valuable as he moves up the racing ladder.
“I think it’s really helped me a lot,” he said. “Instead of just wanting to drive, I was able to get hands-on experience and get some actual real time working on this level of stuff and understanding of the car. Whenever I get the chance to drive [an ARCA car], I’ll be able to understand what it’s doing. If something’s broken, I’ll be able to feel it. Stuff like that. Whenever you understand the car, you can drive the car better.”
Colton is hoping to translate that hands-on experience to on-track success with the goal of making a few starts in the ARCA Racing Series in 2022. In the meantime, he still plans on being a part of CCM Racing as a crew member and, if the opportunity presents itself, a driver.
“Colton has been an integral part of our team,” says Eric. “He is the most racing-focused kid I have ever met. He has traveled across the country with CCM and spent countless hours gaining knowledge for when he is driving ARCA cars.”
In addition to his time with CCM Racing, Colton has also spent some time racing at Bolivar Speedway the last couple years in the Baby Grand and Super Trucks classes, winning multiple races in Baby Grands and earning several top-five finishes between both classes.
If that’s not enough, Colton has also gotten to experience racing from the owner’s perspective. Colton acquired a quarter midget from a mentor of his who passed away in 2016, and loaned the car to a family to help them get started in racing, and ultimately were able to achieve some good results.
Then, last year, Colton went to victory lane as an owner in a USAC Central Series race with 13-year-old Eli Combs.
Colton was not originally scheduled to be the car owner for Eli, but the family’s racing trailer got stuck in the mud after heavy rain in the area. When Colton found out, he decided to step in and help.
“I was like, ‘Hey, I’ll throw two cars together and we can go down and you won’t have to do anything,’” said Colton. “So I threw two cars together and we went down there and I set the car up all by myself. I talked [Eli] through everything and he ended up winning one race and coming third in another class.”
And where did this all happen? Right where everything started for Colton, at TQMA.
Moving forward, Colton wants to continue moving up the stock car racing ladder, eventually working his way up as a driver from ARCA, to the Camping World Truck Series, then the Xfinity Series, and, ultimately, the Cup Series.
Right now, you might be wondering what Colton does away from the racetrack. In addition to high school, he also takes welding classes at a tech school near his home, and has been able to apply that knowledge in the world of racing.
He also enjoys working on his own racecar, sim racing … Basically, even away from the track, Colton is still all racing all the time!
In fact, he is keeping just as busy over the offseason. Colton attended the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Indianapolis, Indiana last month and was able to check some items off his to-do list in the process.
“It was really cool to see some old friends and meet some new people that contribute a big part to the racing community,” said Colton. “It was nice to be able to get fitted up for a suit, a helmet, a HANS, and to figure all that stuff out before I have to rush and do it.”
Finally, in 2022, Colton will be adding yet another label to his racing résumé: crew chief!
Colton will serve as crew chief for Matt Wilson during the 2022 COMMA Series schedule at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit.
All of us here at CCM Racing are rooting for Colton in his racing journey! And who knows, maybe in a few years, we’ll have the pleasure of saying “We knew him when … “