Clyde Overholt is the son of Wayne and Donna Overholt. He is a second generation wheelman who turns the wrenches and chases his dreams all the while helping many others chase their dreams as well.
Almost every evening Overholt can be found in his garage working on his and many other drivers’ race cars. He developed a love of working on race machines at an early age by helping his championship father prepare his cars. From his earliest memories he helped his dad and learned how to do almost every aspect of the car building procedure.
“Working on race cars is something I love to do. I’d rather work on them than to drive them. It makes me proud to see someone take something I created and win with it; don’t get me wrong I enjoy driving and winning in my own car but I get so much enjoyment out of watching someone else drive what I prepared,” said Overholt.
Clyde is a driver too; make no mistake about that. He can wheel a race car around the track with the best of them. He began racing in some of his father’s equipment during the 2005 season. He raced a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the pure street division at Tazewell Speedway. Overholt spoke about his first time out, “I loved it so much that I had to keep doing it. I wanted to come back every time I could.”
The following year Overholt found the checkered flag three or four times and finished at the front of the pack enough to win the Tazewell Speedway Pure Street Championship.
“I really didn’t think it was easy but it was so much fun and I enjoyed it,” said Overholt.
His help that year was Thomas Noah and T.J. Noah. The two have been his biggest supporters over the years.
He continued to race with his father’s equipment during the 2007-2014 seasons and won many races but the championships avoided him. It was the following year where he decided to go out on his own by building and operating his own race program. It was a huge change but Overholt felt it was a decision he had to make.
After making a jump to the late model style of car he quickly found that he liked driving those cars over the street style.
“I found that the late model style of car was easier to drive than the old cars I was driving. These cars are purpose built to race where the pure street cars simply weren’t. They were a handful,” Overholt said.
He took the late model and won the second time out at 411 and went on to win eight races at his home track, the Taz.
It was also a tough year for Clyde due to a sickness focused around his Gall Bladder. In his own words, “It just about killed me. Looking back, man I was sick.” The illness even took away a portion of the 2016 season. After such a long wait it was a relief for him to get back in the car.
Overholt said, “We didn’t win our first time back but we did win four in a row and finished second in Sportsman points.”
Overholt has raced once this season at the Taz and he was able to bring it home in third place. He is racing this season in the more competitive steel head class.
Through the years, he has had basically just a few people standing at his side helping him starting with his father Wayne, Thomas and T.J. Noah, Jonathon Miracle, Brian Towe, David Clark, Petey Poblo, Brad Hall, Don Evans, James Lane and Odie Overholt. Overholt now has the assistance of his girlfriend Brittany Hatfield who seems to love the racing lifestyle.
When asked where he sees himself in five years Clyde said, “I expect to be racing somewhere and to still be building these cars. I just love working on these things. I don’t desire to move up to a super late model or anything like that but if I was offered the chance and the sponsorship- sure I would chase that dream.”
His list of sponsors along his journey include Baker’s Tree Service, Noah’s Wholesale, Petty’s Wrecker Service, BruceBuilt chassis and he is currently piloting a Rocket chassis powered by Phantom Race Engines. Overholt plans to run at Tazewell, 411 and Volunteer Speedway.
Being a second generation driver isn’t the easiest thing to do as the comparisons to his father can not be avoided but he has somehow used a hard work ethic and turning wrenches on other’s race cars to offer the chance for him to have fun driving his own equipment and he does it quite well.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.