Austin Kryta traveled to Las Vegas along with more than 300 of the best quarter midget drivers in the country.

Austin Kryta traveled to Las Vegas along with more than 300 of the best quarter midget drivers in the country.

Photo provided by Darlene Kryta

Local seventh grader wins national auto racing event in Las Vegas

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 12, 2022

 Austin Kryta wins  a national auto racing event in  Las Vegas.

Austin Kryta wins a national auto racing event in Las Vegas.

Photo provided by Darlene Kryta


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Romeo Middle School seventh grader Austin Kryta, of Shelby Township, traveled to Las Vegas along with more than 300 of the best quarter midget drivers in the country, where they gathered to compete in the Silver State Winter Nationals. Kryta grabbed a win in his heavy Honda class quarter midget.

The event is held annually and hosted by the Good Times Quarter Midget Racing Association out of California.

Quarter midget racing is an automotive racing sport for kids ages 5 to 16. The cars are approximately 1/4 the size of a midget car; they are open-wheeled, have four-wheel suspension and, depending on the class of motor, reach speeds of 45-50 mph.

A driver competes in heat races and tries to progress into the feature race. Kryta won his heat race and directly secured a spot in the feature race. He has been racing in the South and Midwest, and this was his first national win.

Eric Fitzpatrick, a third-generation racer and someone Kryta’s family does a lot of events with, said traveling to Las Vegas to compete with the best quarter midget racers in the country took a giant effort coming from Michigan. 

“Winning, on the other hand, was an even bigger effort. Austin outran some of the fastest kids in the country on his way to victory. Austin proved himself lap after lap. He came from the back to the front after a first-lap accident left him at the tail of a talent-packed field. One by one, he gained his way to the top spot until the checkers flew. It truly was inspiring to see a young man his age climb to the top of his sport. He truly deserves his national title,” said Fitzpatrick.

From an early age, Kryta was interested in cars and all things with motors. He has been racing quarter midgets since 2018. He first spotted quarter midgets at Detroit Autorama, where some quarter midget cars were on display, and he dragged his dad to look at them numerous times and to ask questions.

Austin’s dad, John, and uncle, James, teamed up to get Austin started in racing. Austin started out at a local track and quickly loved the competition. His dad and uncle began taking him to regional events and eventually filled most weekends with traveling and a race. 

Today, the race weekends are a family affair, as Austin’s mom, Darlene, livestreams the races to Krybaby Performance for the team’s Facebook followers and publishes content to YouTube to help other families interested in racing. 

John said that Austin has grown up around cars, and John tried all the mainstream sports with him, but Austin just liked anything with wheels.

“I made the mistake of promising him a dirt bike if he learned how to ride a bike. At 3, he insisted on taking off the training wheels, and to my amazement, he rode it. So I stalled on the dirt bike until he was 5, and he jumped right on and rode it. I knew from an early age he just liked cars, as he was always waving at any sports car that drove by. Yes, I am into cars, too, but this kid has a mind of his own,” John said via email. 

While John initially resisted the commitment that racing would mean, he ended up giving in. 

“Many times at the track, we would practice and do the Austin 500. This is 500 laps of practice, and his final words would always be ‘20 more laps, please.’ Over the years, he has grown in so many ways and adapts into whatever car you put him in. He has raced quarter midgets, go-karts, Indy karts and dirt oval karts, and when you ask him his favorite, it is always the last car he ran,” John said.

John said motorsports racing is a family affair, bringing together the support of his family members, and it gives him more time with his son as Austin becomes a teenager. 

“We have spent countless weekends at the track, and I am most grateful that when he grows up, he will look back at this time as the best time of his life,” he said.

Darlene said that, in 2021, Austin expanded his racing and began doing other forms. 

“He also races a dirt oval kart locally and a Sprint Indy kart on road courses both locally and regionally. John started a local kids racing league at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park in Sterling Heights in 2020 to get seat time to kids during the winter months, and as a place to ‘try out’ racing without the investment in cars,” she said.

Austin holds several track championships, and this year, he added a dirt oval championship at Arthur Speedway in Reese, Michigan, and a Sprint Indy kart championship at East Lansing Kart Track.  

Call Staff Writer Kara Szymanski at (586) 498-1029.