SOME THINGS ARE MEANT TO BE
AJ Keeling Proves that a Mistake Can Put You on the Right Track
Many drivers are either second- or third-generation drivers and others have been around some facet of racing for most of their lives; for AJ Keeling, his first driving experience came as a complete accident, proving that some things really are meant to be.
“Ever since I was three-years old… I crashed my dad’s firebird,” Keeling shared the funny story that started his racing career. “Me and my brother were in the car, and I accidentally put it in gear. My brother got out, but I stayed in it… I’ve been working on cars since then.”
Keeling started racing Go-Karts on a small track at his home. He can still be found on that same track taking his 4-Cylinder for a spin.
One of Keeling’s fondest memories of racing came back in 2008. “I would go to PIR to watch Blake Martin and Josh Hartman race. (We all) go to school together,” he spoke on how his racing career found its way to Paducah International Raceway.
Keeling’s mom and dad have had the biggest influence on his racing career.
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]“My mom put the numbers on my cars, got my seat for the car, and comes up with a lot of ideas,”[/pullquote] he shared. “My dad takes me to the races and helps in the pits.” Sometimes his brother comes out to the track to show his support, and his cousin, Josh, can also be found lending a helping hand in the pit area.
His first victory came in a Heat race in 2009 at Paducah International Raceway.
“I felt like… I don’t know… it was great,” Keeling shared his excitement on that first victory.
For the 2010 season, he had two Heat victories, 13 Top-10 Feature finishes, and nine Top-Five Feature finishes. He also held on to a Top-Five spot in 4-Cylinder points standings both before and after the division was split, finishing in the second spot.
Currently Keeling is racing exclusively at Paducah International Raceway, but admits that he is thinking about traveling to other tracks in the near future.
When asked about where he wants to be with his racing career in five years, Keeling responded, “(I want to) continue racing. Maybe move up to Street Stocks.”
And 10-years down the road? “Maybe Crates,” Keeling talked about his racing goals.
Keeling is in his second year racing 4-Cylinders at PIR and has raced in both the 4-Cylinder Warriors and High-School Warrior divisions. He currently drives the #K-13 4-Cylinder and is on the market for some sponsorships.
Keeling lives in his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. He is a student at Reidland Middle School where he plays Left Tackle on the football team. When he is not racing, his hobbies include riding and working on four-wheelers and Go-Karts.
Many different things lead to a racing career, and for AJ Keeling it was a complete accident. Come to Paducah International Raceway on Friday nights and see why AJ Keeling was meant to be behind the wheel of a race car and watch him race for his first Championship.