Not many people know that Mattoon has a professional American Flattrack racer. But it’s true, and with a lot of family support, passion for the sport, confidence and a great racing name, Dallas Daniels is that man, or kid.
Dallas won’t turn 17 until this summer but he is already preparing for the upcoming racing schedule. While his high school buddies are home in Mattoon, Dallas is in Florida getting ready to race. Jeff Owens asked him a few questions.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: When did you start racing?
DALLAS DANIELS: I started racing when I was 4 years old
CCS: When did you realize you might be able to make a career at racing?
DD: When I moved up to 250s, I started to get more serious about racing and got a lot faster and my goal was to be Grand National champion.
CCS: How do you fit school into your training?
DD: I do online schooling, so at the end of the day (training), I try to make time to do some school.
CCS: Speaking of training, what are you doing now down in Florida?
DD: I am currently training with Johnny Lewis for the upcoming season.
CCS: When does your season begin?
DD: We begin in early March at the Daytona Speedway.
CCS: What is the toughest part about being a professional motorcycle athlete?
DD: The training and preparation for the races.
CCS: What is the best part about being a professional motorcycle athlete?
DD: The Winning!
CCS: Do you set goals?
DD: Of course, that’s the way I achieve things.
CCS: Talk about your family support.
DD: My family including my sister, have basically dedicated there whole lives to my racing. We never really had vacations or things like that. We went racing, and I am more than thankful for everything my family has done.
CCS: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
DD: To become the AFT singles champion.
CCS: What advice have you received from other racers?
DD: To work hard, and enjoy your life as a teenager lol!
CCS: Who do you look up to in the racing world?
DD: I always looked up to Nicky Hayden. He was my main idol. I wanted and still want to be like him, but I also look up to people like JD Bach, Briar Bauman, and Johnny Lewis. Guys like that.
Jeff Owens also spoke with Dallas’s mom (Kristin), who said; “I just will say I am so beyond proud of him. His hard work and dedication is like no other. I can remember being pregnant with Rease, and Dallas being almost 2 years old standing at the back door wanting to go for rides on the motorcycle. His hot wheel tricycle even had a number plate.
As a toddler, he would walk the tracks with (father) Nick when we went to watch Nick race. He would wear riding gear and boots at all the races. It was adorable. It’s amazing to me that he has accomplished so much in his 16 years of life and still has so much ahead of him, and so much to offer American Flat Track and his team. I miss him so much when he’s gone, but it’s something I have to get used to. He’s living his dream and I’m so beyond proud and so beyond blessed that he’s mine.”
Nick had this to say about his racing son: “Dallas has showed me his talent from the first time I put him on a practice track at Springfield when he was just 4. Running the bike wide open and leaning it over so far he drug the pegs on the ground. After that, we started racing and he always gave it his all and was pretty focused for a child so young on race day, but it was about when he was 8 or 9 he came to me and asked how we could win more races. So at that point we regrouped and started, both of us taking things way more serious really as if he was already a professional.
“He totally fed off all of it. He was on his own without (me) having to harp on him started riding so much more and just taking it way more serious.
It really has been a dream come true to do this with him not only because I love it so much but I think he loves it even more. I haven’t seen a kid this passionate about racing a motorcycle since my buddy Nicky Hayden. But we are going to rewrite the record book. That’s our goal!”
ColesCountySports will keep you updated on Dallas Daniels as the season gets started.