From April to September, don’t count on seeing the Sharp family around much on the weekends.
Instead of hanging out with friends, attending barbecues and doing yardwork, they spend time on racetracks around Utah and Idaho watching Zan Sharp, the patriarch of this racing family, compete in the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series.
For the Sharps, it isn’t just about racing; it’s about being together as a family. And everyone gets involved, especially his sons Tylor, 20, and Bo, 17.
"I love the competition," Zan Sharp said. "The first race I went to made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I knew right then that I wanted to race cars."
Sharp said he discovered racing by accident in California at 19, when he took in a race at the Stockton 99 Speedway. He started racing in 1995 and hasn’t looked back.
Sharp’s love for the sport has passed on to his sons, who grew up on the racetrack — first cheering from the stands with their mother, Vivian, and younger sister Sierra, then helping in the pit when they got old enough.
Currently in ninth place after two races, Sharp has won the series twice, in 2004 and then again in 2005, and has totaled more than 24 top 10 finishes and completed over 3,500 laps.
Tylor races in the truck series at Rocky Mountain Raceways and not only finished in third place in 2008 but also captured the rookie of the year title. He has yet to race this season, but plans to start in June after he graduates with a diesel technology diploma from WyoTech, a technical college located in Laramie, Wyo., that specializes in automotive arts.
"I had a fulfilling first year," Tylor said. "You always wish you would have done better, but I’m not disappointed. It has been hard being in Wyoming away from my family and racing; it’s so much a part of me. It’s definitely an addiction."
Like his older brother, Bo started out in the mini cups at RMR, which are half-scale replicas of Sprint Cup cars, and finished third in points in 2008. He said he wants to move on to trucks and eventually stock cars after high school. And while he dreams of going pro, the chances of that happening are slim, which is why college is also in his plans.
"I love the smell of race fuel," Bo said. "I had a different life growing up than most kids, but I wouldn’t change it. There was never a moment in my life that I haven’t loved racing."
While racing is undoubtedly the family’s passion; it is still a weekend hobby, which doesn’t pay the bills. Sharp owns and operates three successful businesses in addition to racing, including Sharp Motorsports. Most importantly, all of them are family-run. He said that racing has really brought his family together and has forged a deep bond between Sharp and his two sons.
The series has enjoyed continued success and a passionate fan base, despite tough economic times. Sharp attributes this to the fact that the CRMC series features the same quality of tight racing that the fans would expect at a NASCAR event with out the inflated ticket prices.
With the racing season now under way, the Sharps are coming together once again as a family and racing team to support each other on and off the track. (Salt Lake Tribune)