by Don Martin
Daryn Klein of Collinsville, Illinois has been getting better and better the last couple of years in Dirt Late Model Racing in the St. Louis area and people are definitely starting to take notice. This 30 year-old was so close to winning a couple of Summer National races last year and this year I look for him to finally get one.
Klein has won about 30 late model features and has average about 5 or 6 wins as season. His biggest win to date of his racing career was a $5,000 to win late model race during mod mania at Tri-City Speedway 2 years ago. I look for this talented driver to be in double digit wins this year. You can count on seeing him at Highland, Tri-City, and Pevely in his familiar white #10 Rocket Chassis, Penske Shocks, and Dargie Engines under the hood. The team is sponsored by Klein Appliances, Hooker Harness, and Aggressive Graphics.
Daryn didn’t even start racing until the age of 14, his uncle Danny got him into go carts and he was more into ASA Asphalt growing up and his dad raced the number #10 so he chose that number plus not many of those out there. He is also related to Casey Montague who raced the black and green #01 in the crate division around the area. When Daryn started to going to the races he was always very intrigued watching Shannon Babb. He loved the way Babb ran the top at Pevely and how he could run the top of the race track and always have car control, and also Babb can go just about anywhere in the country and be competitive. Babb is just so versatile and makes it look easy Klien says. Randy Korte needs to be mentioned as well as he has been a mentor and big part of Daryn’s racing program. Daryn also mentioned he could not have the success he has had without his incredible crew, starting with his Dad Doug, who takes care of the hauler and most of the work on the cars. The team purchased a 2011 S&S from Dylan Thompson over the winter by the way. Other crew members include Dave Houser who also takes care of the maintenance on the car, Kenny Roberts who does all the washing, and Kevin Menows who takes care of the tires. This lets Daryn concentrate on the set-ups and keep up with the race track. It needs to be noted this team races very smart and the car must pay for itself to survive. They don’t buy new motor or cars, and even have an oil pump that is 4 or 5 years old. They take care of what they have and continue to build and be better each year.
The team last year felt they little let a couple of big races slip thru their fingers last year. He thought he had the Highland Summer National event in the bag and should have won the Summer National event at Pevely but he said he ran too hard too early and didn’t have anything left at the end. His goal this year is to win his first Summer National event.
He mentioned its not easy winning those races when you got Brian Shirley, Bobby Pierce, and his good buddy Gordy Gundaker in the pit area. He loves racing with Brian Shirley he told me, he races so clean and to have won the Summer National Championships the last 3 years is amazing. Has nothing but respect for Shirley. Also, Brian is somebody he feels like he can always talk to for advice.
Daryn’s season will start at in a couple of weeks at Highland Speedway, which he told me his one of his favorite places to race just because the atmosphere and the fans make him feel at home. His favorite track he told me is Pevely. Daryn will be also piloting Steve Lampley’s machines in 2021 at some of the bigger races and will be doing more traveling in 2021. So not only will he be in his familiar family owned #10 but in the #33 this year as well starting with Tri-City Speedway March 31st FloRacing/ Castrol $10,000 to win special.
In closing when Daryn is heading down the road, he travels with his fiancée Cierra McKee who he says he can’t race without her. They have 3 dogs Ollie a black lab and 2 black pugs named Zoey and Ava. The kid loves his hot wings and beer and enjoys listening to country music especially Tyler Childress and is a huge St. Louis Blues fan.
Quote – “ Daryn has really stepped up his program and has definitely become a really good regional racer, and I am happy for him” Brian Shirley