Veteran driver Mike Weeks has experienced the highs and lows of the sport of Dirt Late Model racing. He has won numerous feature events and has had instances in which things didn’t go as well as he might have liked. But all of those experiences combined have landed the Lenoir City, Tenn. resident in the role of serving as mentor to up-and-coming racer Drew Kennedy.
Weeks helps prepare Late Models for Kennedy’s race team as well as drive for that organization as a teammate to his apprentice.
“We’re just working on their stuff everyday,” Weeks explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “I’ve been blessed to be able to be with that family. They are just great people. My objective was to help Drew progress in his racing. That’s what I still want to do. I’m not getting any younger.”
While serving as a guide for Kennedy is certainly the primary mission for Weeks, he still very much enjoys driving himself as well. Both drivers for the Kennedy team will be kicking off the 2018 campaign at Alabama’s Talladega Short Track this weekend in the annual Ice Bowl event.
“I’m 41 but I still feel like I’ve got a lot of racing left in me,” Weeks declared. “I had a great year with them. Me and Drew both ran good. We won four or five races between us both. We’re going to the Ice Bowl this year and we hope to pick up where we left off.”
Billy Glenn Kennedy, Drew’s father, serves as team owner and Weeks describes his relationship with the elder Kennedy as a good one.
“Most of the time I get to race quite a bit,” Weeks pointed out. “I think I ran over 20 races this year. I may not get to race every weekend but Mr. Kennedy is willing to let me race anytime I feel like it. Them guys have been so gracious to me and I’m forever thankful for all they’ve done for me.”
One instance in which Weeks did race last season was in the Dylan Kennedy Memorial event held at Wartburg Speedway. Dylan Kennedy, the younger brother of Drew, passed away last year and the race was held in his honor. Weeks very much wanted to make a good showing for his team.
“I miss Dylan,” Weeks recalled. “I was fortunate enough to be around him and he was a joy to be around. The kid’s life was just cut short. I think about him everyday. I wanted to win that deal at Wartburg so bad for him. I was so mad at myself for running second.”
Weeks feels honored that Mr. Kennedy has entrusted him with the task of guiding his son’s racing career. And the veteran racer feels as if what he is doing now serves as a sort of repayment for what he had done for him when he was just getting started in the sport.
“I’m glad they think of me that way,” Weeks said. “I had a lot of guys who helped me through the years and I can never be able to repay them but I feel good to know the Kennedys look up to me. I’ve tried to calm down since I’ve gotten older so hopefully that will help me be able to have something when I get older and I can’t race.”
Weeks says that the challenges of working on modern-day Late Models have increased throughout his years in the business.
“I feel like I can offer setup advice but there’s a lot of people out here in this business that can,” he stated. “This stuff has got so technical. It changes everyday and I feel like you’ve got to be around this stuff all the time to keep up.”
So where does Weeks hope his instruction will take Kennedy in the future?
“I hope he can be a Lucas Oil or World of Outlaws regular or something like that and I can still be shaking his hand when he does good. Those guys are willing to do whatever it takes to win. In this sport, that’s all you can do.”