Teddy Nelson's Keys to Racing Success is Simple: Family!
THREE GENERATIONS OF RACERS GOING STRONG
By Rick Warren
In this first of a series, we will profile some of the drivers in the popular Corteco Gaskets/GulfCoast Modified Series. We hope to allow you, the race fan, to get to know these fine racers a little better. The first driver we would like to introduce to you is 36 year old Teddy Nelson, winner of race #4 in the Corteco Series at Charlotte County Speedway on June 5, 2004.
(L to R) Dalton, Teddy and James Nelson
Teddy is a home grown talent, spending all his life in the Largo/Clearwater, Florida area. Teddy is married to his lovely wife Cindy, and they have 3 children, Amber, Dalton and Brylee.
Teddy's racing career has spanned 20 years, in many types of race cars, including Mini-stocks, Street Stocks, Super Late Models, and for the last 8 years, Open Wheel Modifieds.
Even when not at the track, Teddy is involved with racing and racers. His business, Nelson Brothers Machine Shop, specializes in building high performance engines, for anything from Street Rods to Drag Racers to any kind of Oval Track Racing Engine.
For Teddy, racing is a family activity. His earliest oval track experience came while helping his father, James Nelson. Teddy helped his Dad with his race car in what was then called the "Outlaw Class" at Sunshine Speedway in St. Petersburg, Fl. James had the #75 car driven by Dave Brakefield, and the younger Nelson started learning his way around a race car by working on the family race car.
In the same way, Teddy is introducing his son Dalton to the finer points of race car preparation. Dalton is an up and coming racer in his own right. Dalton races a Jr. Champ Kart, and this year won every heat race and feature that he entered. He also won his class championship at DeSoto Speedway.
In his career as a racer Nelson has won track championships in 1999 and 2000, at Desoto Speedway, in the Open Wheel Modified Division. He has raced local series at various tracks, and has also competed in different series, including the old SARA Modified Series, and the All American Challenge Series, and currently is in the top 10 in points in the Corteco Gaskets/GulfCoast Modified Series.
At one point, between 1998 and 2002, Teddy held 7 different track records at the same time. Nelson likes racing the Open Wheeled Cars, and says the reason is simple economics. Teddy says these cars are as competitive as any division in racing, and at the same time are much less expensive to build and maintain than the Super Late Models or an ASA car, or a Hooters ProCup car. According to Nelson, "You don't have buy fenders and body panels after almost every race."
Nelson also tells us that he enjoys the series format because it allows him to spend more time with his family. When questioned about his future plans in racing, Nelson responds that he would like to race another 4 or 5 years, and then start working his son Dalton into the drivers seat. This may also include relocation to North Carolina or Indiana.
Racing at any level involves hard work and a great deal of time to be successful. Nelson credits the hard work and long hours of his crew for his being able to field a competitive car at each event. His father is his Crew Chief, Car Chief, and #1 Mechanic. James has been at every race that Teddy has been in! All of his family takes an active part in the chores at the track, along with the rest of his crew, which includes Chester Layton, Sam Rogers, Barry Carlson and Neal Perez.
The Nelsons give a special thanks to Sam Philpot, who helped James construct the current race car, from the ground up. Just as the car was completed, Sam passed away due to heart problems, without getting to see the car on the track.
Nelson also knows the financial aspect of fielding a first class race team. Sponsorships are vital, and Nelson has many, including Nelson Brothers Machine Shop, Cindy's Vinyl Graphics, J. Cerda Roofing, New Homes of Tampa Bay, RD Motorsports, and Second Coming Ministries.
When asked what one thing Teddy would like the fans to know about him, that they may not already know, Nelson was quick to answer: "Simply this, that I am a Born Again Christian." We wish Teddy Nelson continued success and safety in his racing career, and encourage all that have the opportunity to meet him at a track near you.
(Rick Warren can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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