Caleb Armstrong and Taylor Ferns – Might As Well Call Them Teammates
Posted: 3 years ago
By Richard Golardi (

Nineteen year old Taylor Ferns and twenty two year old Caleb Armstrong, pitted side-by-side at Bubba Raceway Park last weekend for the All Star Circuit of Champions races, agreed that they feel like teammates this year, even though their two winged dirt sprint cars have different owners. They share the same crew chief, Kevin Besecker from Ohio. “My Dad owns my stuff, his Dad owns his stuff, but we share the same crew chief, so all of our stuff runs out of the same shop,” Taylor Ferns told me. “Pretty much teammates,” Caleb interjected. “Yeah. I make it more complicated,” according to Taylor. They consider themselves to be on the same team this year, a year that will be spent on the dirt.

Usually, the new teammates will head to the track together, except when Caleb is busy at the farm, and can’t get away from his farming duties. Taylor will have some races with a 360, whereas Caleb will be racing only with a 410 motor. Their 2015 plans include some local Ohio tracks and All Star series races, which are concentrated in the Midwest after this week in Florida. Caleb will be racing 410 dirt winged races only in 2015. He had raced in USAC last year, which included a Four Crown Nationals debacle that saw Caleb cross the finish line first in the USAC Silver Crown race, celebrate in the Eldora Speedway Victory Lane, then have the race win taken away later for changing a tire that was not flat. “It is what it is, and I guess rules are rules. The only thing that bothered me was that they waited so long to do something about it,” Caleb said. He is also looking for a USAC midget ride for this year.

“We’ll do mostly the 410 stuff, but whenever there’s an off weekend we’ll race. We’ll bring the 360s out. I don’t plan on doing any USAC stuff at all,” Taylor revealed. She last raced in Florida two years ago, when the USAC National Midget Series raced at New Smyrna Speedway. In 2014, she got her first winged sprint car feature win (in June at Southern Ohio Speedway) and ran her first World of Outlaws sprint car race. This was her first time racing at Bubba Raceway Park. With her teammate planning another trip to Anderson Speedway for the Little 500 in May, I asked Taylor if she might be interested in a rookie effort this year for the 500. “I think so. I’ve always wanted to race at the Little 500. I had a non-wing pavement sprint car of my own a few years ago, and we raced at Spartan Speedway and won a bunch of races. When I wanted to get into the winged stuff, my Dad said you have to get rid of something. I was like - I want to go winged racing, so sell whatever we have to sell.”

There is no 2015 schedule of races for the duo, as they are waiting to see the All Star race schedule, which is due this week. A normal year for Taylor Ferns would be 50 to 60 races, she said. “Mine will probably be a little less, because I work on a farm too,” Caleb remarked. “When it comes to the spring and the fall, I kind of have to sit it out. That’s the part that’s hard for me. We have a family farm. We farm about 8,000 acres. My Dad and Uncle own it. I work over there, and we farm corn and soybeans.” During the week, Taylor Ferns is a full-time freshman college student, with an 18-credit course load this semester. She crams her class schedule into the first three days of the week, to allow her to have Thursday and Friday for racing. She commits to studying each Monday to Wednesday, to allow her to be at the shop as much as she can on Thursday and Friday. After moving to Indiana last summer, she is studying at Ivy Tech Community College and wants to major in Business. Next fall, she plans to transfer to Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

With an extreme schedule demanding most of her time during the week, plus travel and racing on the weekend, I glibly remarked to Taylor that she must have no social life of any kind whatsoever. “Ah – basically no. None at all,” she said, somewhat sorrowfully. And what about you Caleb? “Actually, single at the moment. Life’s a little bit too crazy for me right now to be tied down. I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I work on my own stuff too. You really don’t have any free time. You’ve got to be dedicated to this. I like to take it serious, because I like to win.” Caleb ran about 15 winged sprint car races last year, which was his first time in a winged car. Last year, his team concentrated on the USAC Silver Crown schedule, except for the last race at Syracuse in October. Caleb feels that the switch to winged racing only this year will be a learning experience for him, and that he’ll get better with more seat time. “I’m hoping for big things this year, but we’ll see.”

Taylor feels like 2015 will be a transition year for her also, but she feels like she is getting the hang of racing a dirt sprint car. “I feel like last year was our learning year, and we got the bugs all worked out. This year, we’re definitely going to make it count and go for it as much as we can.” They were undecided about staying in Florida for another two All Star series races at Volusia Speedway Park this week or possibly going back north to get the 360 car for Taylor to race in the 360 Winternationals at East Bay next week. “Everything that we’re doing now is just kind of up in the air,” according to Taylor. The teammates do not intend to run the entire All Star series schedule, but will pick and choose the races that interest them in the Midwest. “No, we’re not points chasers,” she added.

On the opening night of the All Star series weekend in Ocala, Caleb took the lead on the first lap of the Friday night feature race, and already had a substantial lead over the second place car until meeting the wall in the treacherous turn four. His chance of winning was done before lap two was over.Taylor Ferns had her best finish of the weekend on the first night, finishing in eighth place. She had two eleventh place feature race finishes on the next two nights. Caleb finished right behind his teammate on Saturday in twelfth place, and was in sixteenth place for the Sunday night finale.
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