CJ Yaeger Wrangles Up Rookie of the Year Title

When CJ Yaeger introduced himself to the world of racing two years ago, he was behind the wheel of a ’76 Nova he refers to as a “rust-bucket starter car,” and while he held his own in it, it’s the ’76 Oldsmobile Omega he refers to as his “other rust-bucket starter car” that commands attention.

He and his dad, Opus Yaeger, purchased the car two years ago from a seller down the road from their home in Lodi, Ohio, and it has under its hood a stock 260 cubic-inch Oldsmobile engine and a stock TH200 Metric transmission.

After a new waterpump was installed and dry-rotted tires were replaced with fresh tires, Yaeger introduced the car to Summit Motorsports Park in late ‘12, where it trapped high nineteens and low eighteens, and in ’13, he joined Accel Sportsman points and arrived at each race determined to win.

As a result, he finished fourth in points, qualified for the North Central Division NHRA Summit Racing Series Team Finals and won a race in Accel Sportsman. He also won seven races in Hays Stock and at Summit Motorsports Park’s 40th Annual Accel Banquet of Champions on Jan. 25 at Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio, he was named the ’13 Summit Motorsports Park Rookie of the Year.

“I knew I had done well, but I certainly didn’t expect to receive the Rookie of the Year award,” said Yaeger, who sometimes also drives his dad’s ‘74 Olds Cutlass to twelve-second times in Lakewood Pro. “There’s a lot of competition out there, and this is the toughest track to race at, so winning that award was really an honor.”

In addition to those accomplishments, Yaeger drove to a semifinal finish in Accel Sportsman at Summit Motorsports Park’s Night Under Fire after racing through the night and until 11 a.m.

“I don’t feel pressure going into the new season, because I feel confident after getting my feet wet in the class,” said Yaeger, who works as a grounds technician at Westfield Insurance and will soon take online courses toward a degree in accounting through University of Phoenix.

On his to-do list before the new season revs up are some suspension adjustments on the car and perhaps a new gas tank for it, and as he’s rolling in Accel Sportsman and Lakewood Pro, he’ll welcome to the mix his younger brother Bryan Yaeger, who will see seat time in a third generation Camaro in Lakewood Pro.

“I’ve had a lot of support from my dad, Opus, my mom, Mary, my brother, Bryan, my two sisters, Rachel and Katy and my friends, Mike Matty, Jr. and Bill Keller,” said Yaeger. “Now, I’m really looking forward to the new season.”

By Mary Lendzion

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