MONTEZUMA – Almost four months ago, Maguire DeJong shocked the racing world by claiming the sportmod championship at the Karl Kustoms Bristol Dirt Nationals.
But folks who have been watching him tear up the go-kart tracks around Iowa and around the country for that matter for years know it was no fluke – it was just a matter of time. In fact, just a few weeks before driving down to Tennessee, he demonstrated his skill by winning some races at the annual “Battle at the Barn” indoor coke syrup races at the Jacobsen Exhibition Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
“Magoo,” as he is known to his racing buddies, may only be 16 years old, but he already has years of racing experience:
“I started racing when I was 5 years old. My Dad bought me a kart that we would race every weekend with my family … [I love] the time I get to spend together with family and friends.”
Despite now racing much larger cars on bigger tracks, Maguire says the scariest moment of his racing career actually happened in a kart racing incident:
“I had part of a finger taken off in multi flip kart racing accident in Kansas City when I was 7 years old. My finger was pinched between the steering wheel and racing surface when flipping from making contact with another kart. The surgeon had to cut off what was left as it could not be repaired”
The injury certainly didn’t slow him down. In fact, like many kart racers before him, his experience translated quickly to the open-wheel dirt track divisions. That’s how he landed in his current ride, an IMCA northern sportmod. But it’s been anything but easy:
“There are several experienced sportmod drivers, which challenges us to bring our best to the track every week … Starting out in this class has a huge learning curve, but with dedication, time and effort, anything can happen.”
Maguire also has several interests outside of racing. Just hours before packing up the rig and heading south to Bristol, he played in the championship game, winning Montezuma High School’s first boys’ state basketball championship since 1990. Additionally as a sophomore, he was awarded the First Team All-SICL conference golf, competes on the school’s trap shooting team, and is currently competing on Montezuma’s winning State FFA team. When he has a spare moment or two away from the track, he also enjoys fishing, hunting, and spending time with friends and family.
Maguire’s home track is Southern Iowa Speedway, which isn’t sanctioned but does run the IMCA rules package, but he also races regularly at “The Bullring” – Benton County Speedway in Vinton – as well as other local Iowa tracks. So far, he has raced at 15 different tracks in his young career and is always looking for a new place to visit. Other tracks he’s raced so far include:
- Stuart International Raceway
- Marshalltown Speedway
- 34 Raceway
- Boone Speedway
- CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction
- Cedar County Raceway in Tipton,
- Eldon Raceway
- Hancock County Speedway in Britt
- Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, MO
- Lee County Speedway in Donnellson
- Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, MO
- Davenport Speedway
- Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City
- Shelby County Speedway in Harlan
The goal for this season is pretty simple: go forward each night without damage to the car, gain experience at several tracks while visiting new tracks when possible, and just have fun. Longer-term, however, the goal is to move up to the modified division. Those who wish to follow his progress this season should click HERE to receive updates.
(Photos provided by Team DeJong)
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