The sound of a race car roaring by at speeds of 200 miles per hour brings a rush of exhilaration to those who have experienced it up close and personal. The closest most get is by watching from the stands or on TV.
But Austin Dyne, a 2010 graduate of Malibu High School, has a more intimate understanding ?behind the wheel. On April 14, the 20-year-old Dyne will make his season debut at the Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., as part of the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
?I?ve always enjoyed racing. There is nothing like it,? Dyne said. ?You are in another world. I am an adrenaline junkie and I just love it.?
Dyne, who has been racing for five years, signed with owner Bob Bruncati?s Sunrise Ford Racing in February and begins the first leg of his journey as he pursues his dream of racing one day in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series alongside big names such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick.
Bruncati and the Sunrise Ford Racing team won the 2009 West Championship and is looking forward to working with Dyne this season.
?I really enjoy taking a young driver like Austin and teaching him what it takes to win a championship,? said Bruncati.
Many drivers competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series have used the tour as a stepping stone to NASCAR?s three national series (Sprint, Nationwide, Camping World Truck Series), including drivers like Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano and David Gilliland.
?My goal is the Sprint Cup series,? Dyne said. ?I have to have good results this year and the years to come. It?s just an honor to be able to race for a team like that. They have had a lot of success in the past. It looks like we will have a really good season this year. I am going to try and learn as much as I can.?
His idols include five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Juan Pablo Montoya.
?I look up to Jimmie because mentally he seems to be beyond everyone,? Dyne said. ?The mental part of racing is really big. People don?t realize that. Jimmie is on a level that no one else is really at. I hope I can be like that one day.?
Dyne has been around race cars, drivers, crew chiefs and owners for as long as he can remember. His father, Colin, is the CEO of apparel company William Rast apparel, and he has a love for the sport of open-wheel racing (wheels outside the car?s body such as Indy Cars). He took Austin to the Long Beach Grand Prix at the age of two and Dyne has been hooked ever since.
Colin brought his son back to the Indianapolis 500 in 2008 and they have gone back every year to witness one of America?s true sport spectacles. While in Indianapolis, Dyne befriended Bryan Herta, a former racer in the Indy Car Series and current owner of Bryan Herta AutoSport.
Herta became a mentor to Dyne as he taught him the finer points of racing, on and off the road.
?He has had a big influence on me,? Dyne stated. ?He taught me a lot about the sport and he has always been positive around me.?
It was through Herta that Dyne met Dan Wheldon, the two-time Indy 500 winner who was tragically killed in a horrific crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October. Wheldon won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 while racing for Bryan Herta AutoSport. He also wore the William Rast livery during the race.
?He?s one of those guys that once you know him he?s like your best friend,? Dyne said. ?He was a great person and will always be one of my heroes. He always had a smile on his face when he was on the race track. It?s an honor for me carry the same livery Dan drove to the win at Indy, and to be able to compete at this level in the sport he so loved.?
Dyne has been competing since the age of 15 when he was part of Kart racing. After graduating from MHS, Dyne entered the Skip Barber School of racing where he honed his skills behind an open-wheel. After racing in the Skip Barber East Coast Series, Dyne switched to stock car racing (wheels below the body of the car) in 2011.
He earned Rookie of the Year honors in the ?S2? series and advanced to the ?Late Model? series. Now it?s on to the K&N Pro Series West where Dyne will be racing cars from the 2009 Nationwide circuit. Speeds of 170 mph, a new type of car and different types of tracks become his newest challenge.
?The big goal this year is to gain experience racing a completely different car,? Dyne said. ?I have to learn the new circuits as well. I?m definitely looking forward to the challenge.?
Ahead of his debut, Dyne has been preparing by simulating races online at iracing.com as well as training at the California Motor Speedway in Fontana.
?I?m getting really excited. I haven?t raced since November so I am dying to go racing.?
Could he possibly be following in the footsteps of other great drivers to the Sprint Cup series?
?I guess we will find out this year,? Dyne said with anticipation.
Gentlemen, start your engines.