Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – GREENVILLE, NY – It would have been nearly impossible for nine-year-old Braxton Dembek not to have major exposure to racing. His father, Tom Dembek won 27 races at OCFS during his driving career along with championships in both the Street Stock and Pro Stock divisions.
His grandfather, Andy Dembek, was among the first to race in the OCFS Street Stock division when it was formed back in the early 80’s. And his uncle Andy also raced.
But the young man was not a fan right off the bat.
“I didn’t like it so much when I first watched races on television,” Braxton said. “But once I went to OCFS, I really started to enjoy it.”
And some other experiences helped increase Braxton’s increasing love of the sport.
“When I watched the races on TV, I really liked Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s car. When we went to Dover, I was talking to some of Stenhouse’s crew. I told them good luck and they invited my to hang with them on pit road during the prerace. It was very cool,” Braxton said.
Another driver that Braxton is a fan of is Stewart Friesen. He’s joined Stewart in Victory Lane a few times including the 2019 Eastern States 200.
Braxton got his first taste of competition in 2020 at the Hamlin Speedway in the Junior Slingshots.
“He earned a lot of respect up there with his clean driving and he really did well for not having any previous racing experience,” said Tom Dembek. “He had no on track problems and was very fast. He finished 15th in the points which was the highest of the drivers who didn’t race all the races.”
For 2021, Braxton will be back at Hamlin for the full season in the Junior Slingshots. The team would also like to do a few races at some other tracks including the Victory Speedway at OCFS. His number 68 honors his dad’s #6 and his uncle’s #8.
Sponsors for the #68 are Comfort Experts Cooling and Heating (Florida, NY), Paul Maiolo, DM Bath and Kitchen (Highland, NY), Interstate Batteries (Goshen), TRC Auto (Highland) , Signs and Graphics By Lenny and American Remodeling.
It’s a family crew that keeps Braxton on the track including his dad, his mom Heather and brother Brayden. And Tom says don’t judge the amount of maintenance needed by small size of the car, it is deceiving.
“It’s just as much work to prepare the slingshot as it is to work on a bigger car. The smaller size presents it’s own different set of challenges to work on.”
Looking off to the future, Braxton has his eye on possibly racing a Sportsman in a few years.
2021 goals for Braxton are to basically run well and possibly make it up to the top 5 in points.
As this 3rd generation racer gets rolling this year, he has the great support of his awesome family behind him. Good luck to the personable Braxton Dembek in 2021.