Dustin Phillips slides to his right around a turn during a micro series race. Phillips, an 18-year-old in Dayton, will compete at the Tulsa Shootout in December against some of the world’s best racers.
Racing hasn’t always been the easiest sport for Dayton’s Dustin Phillips.
However, the 18-year-old will be competing against the best in the world in late December at the Tulsa Shootout.
Other than a brief stint away from the sport for family matters, Phillips has been racing since he was 5.
After the break, Phillips got into an “outlaw kart” with a dirt bike motor and has since shifted into the micro circuit due to the higher level of competition.
“I won a decent amount of championships, but I’m still progressing, that’s for sure,” said Phillips.
Getting to Tulsa
There isn’t necessarily a qualifying standard that Phillips needed to reach to earn a spot in the world’s biggest micro race.
In fact, Phillips said with the cost of travel and entry fees, it wouldn’t be worth going for anyone who wasn’t serious about competing against the best of the best.
“You wouldn’t go if you were slow. It would be a waste of money,” said Phillips. “The biggest decision-maker for me was we have just gotten so much better over the last few years. … I was ready to give it a chance this year.”
Phillips said the goal is to win a “Golden Driller,” making the winner immediately one of the best micro drivers in the world.
The micro itself runs on a motorcycle engine, registering 600cc.
His crew that works on the vehicle is himself and some friends. They’re trying to shave tenths of a second off times wherever they can.
The Tulsa Shootout itself will be about 40 laps.
The surface at the Tulsa Shootout will be a bit wider than what Phillips is used too, but it won’t be unique.
While weather can be a factor for racing, it won’t be consequential in Tulsa as the whole course is indoors inside of the Tulsa Expo Center — one of the largest clear span buildings in the world.
Affording his passion
The 18-year-old says he works as much as he can in order to continue affording his passion.
“It ain’t cheap. That’s for dang sure,” said Phillips.
When Phillips isn’t competing, he’s training on simulation games like iRacing.
If it’s not virtual training, he’s trying to stay in the best physical condition possible.
The cost of competing and keeping his vehicle in tip-top shape is the toughest thing to juggle.
“I never had a lot. We were good enough to race, but never had all the fancy stuff,” said Phillips. “I guess the hardest thing would probably be those kids out there that have money and don’t care about wrecking other people’s stuff. … Other than that, it’s the ups and downs of racing. That’s what keeps me coming back”
Phillips said he is always looking for additional funding; he can be reached via
his Facebook page.
“It’s the one with the pink car,” Phillips said, who picked the color in honor of his mother, who battled stage 4 breast cancer. “I’ve lost a lot of people to cancer.
“Sponsorships are always welcome. Anything that helps. There’s no one else in Nevada that is doing what I’m doing. If anyone is willing to help us out, it is greatly appreciated.”
(Dustin Phillips poses next to his car. Phillips will be the only representative from Nevada competing in December’s Tulsa Shootout / Courtesy Dustin Phillips)