In 2018, the Big 10 Late Model Series was introduced to the lineup at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Since then, the class has lured in several talented drivers. The new class has now attracted a unique race team out of Farmington Missouri. Keith and Casey Buckley are a father-daughter duo who have been racing together at tracks all across the Midwest for numerous years.
Keith’s father was a well-known stock car driver throughout the 1940s-60s. During that time, Keith would tag along to the races with his dad and that was when he caught the racing bug. “When I was 8-years-old or so, I got to steer my dad’s car around the track while he worked the pedals. Since then, I was hooked,” added Keith. Keith began his own racing career in 1970 in a 1937 Coupe in the B-Class which is like today’s Street Stock class. Keith then moved up into the Modified division where he competed for several years. He then joined the Army as a helicopter pilot which cut back his racing schedule some, but also allowed him to race all across the country. Keith later climbed behind the wheel of a dirt sprint car and went on to win the Track Championship in 1984 at Stars and Stripes Speedway in Texas. Since then Keith has raced Sportsman, Late Models, Trucks, and most recently Vintage Cars as he was the Champion in the series last season. For the past several years, Keith has also been racing with a very special teammate. His daughter Casey.
Casey Buckley began her racing career when she was 9-years-old after watching her father and four uncles race all around the Midwest. Casey jumped into a go-kart and caught the racing bug instantly. Casey picked up several wins including a winged outlaw kart national win in 2009. Casey then moved up into a Mini Stock car and later a Pure Street. She has competed along side her dad for the past couple of seasons in a 1931 Coupe in the Vintage series. Casey has never finished outside of the top 5 in points in every series she has ever run and has picked up numerous heat race and feature wins throughout the years. She is now making the switch to asphalt with her dad and is excited for the new challenge. “It is something we have been interested in for a while. We visited Lebanon a couple years ago and we tried a Camaro in the old Sportsman class, but we had a lot of stuff going on so now we have some extra time and two trucks so were going to give it a go,” stated Casey. Casey is one of several female drivers that will be competing at Lebanon I-44 Speedway this season, and to her, it is nothing out of the ordinary. “You’re basically one of the guys when you get there. Sometimes people ask can she really do that, but once you prove yourself it’s just fine,” Casey added. Not many daughters out there can say that they race stock cars against their father, but Casey is one of the few. Casey said, “It’s definitely a challenge, he never takes it easy on me. We like to put it to each other with some friendly competition and were always there to cheer the other one on.” Casey’s feelings of racing against her dad are mutual as Keith states, “Don’t get me wrong I enjoy racing, but I really like to watch Casey race. As a dad you’re so proud to see your daughter race and she does very well and makes me very proud.”
Keith and Casey will be making their Big 10 Late Model Series debut on March 30th. Be on the look out for them driving two of the three truck style cars in the Big 10 division. The dynamic duo plan to run their Vintage cars as much as possible this summer as well, so you can catch them at your local dirt tracks too! We hope to see all of you on March 30th for the March Madness 100, but until then keep up with us on Facebook or check out our website at i44speedway.net!
By Dylan Bates