For Mikey Latham’s family, Friday night lights refer to the race tracks rather than the football fields.
“Racing has become a family tradition now on Friday nights with aunts, uncles, grandfather, parents, cousins and many friends sitting in the stands cheering [Mikey] on,” said Margie Allen, Latham’s great aunt.
Latham hails from a racing family, and has been engulfed in the sport from the time he was born.
“There are many people behind the scenes of my racing career, and without them I wouldn't be the driver I am today,” Latham said. “My father [Mike Latham] has been racing for over twenty years, so I'm lucky he's learned the hard way of what makes a winning race car. Without his advice and knowledge about racing I wouldn't be the successful person I am today.”
Growing up, Mike Latham raced in the Street Stock class almost every Friday night at Potomac Speedway and taught Mikey Latham everything he knows about racing and cars.
Mike Latham’s late father John, who went by the nickname “Stinky,” was the automobile pioneer of the family.
“My father Stinky used to race and taught me everything there was to be successful and now Mikey’s learning from me,” Mike Latham said. “My brother John Latham also raced and tallied up his share of wins.”
Mike Latham is tied for the most wins in the Street Stock class and won the championship in 2016 and 2017.
This year, Mikey Latham successfully defended his title in the Hobby Stock class at Potomac Speedway by accumulating the most points and wins in the class on the 3/8-mile dirt track in a green 1980’s style Camaro with the number 78 on the side.
“Overall my start in Hobby Stocks has been more than I could've ever asked for. To have another successful winning year is a feeling like no other,” Mikey Latham said. “I’m very grateful to have a great team behind me helping me week in and week out putting hours into the car and helping me every single week at the track. Everyone puts in hard work in the garage and it shows on the racetrack.”
At the age of 12, Mikey Latham, now 19, started his racing career by racing four-cylinder cars.
“This is a beginner class, and I had intentions to move up to a higher class in later years once I've learned the basics of driving,” Mikey Latham said. “I stayed in the four-cylinder class for about four years, and I was able to rack up 18 wins. I was never able to win the championship in the four-cylinders, but in my beginning years that would just have been icing on the cake.”
In his fifth year of racing, Mikey Latham moved up to the Hobby Stock class.
“We thought it was a good idea to move up to a higher class called Hobby Stocks,” Mikey Latham said. “The Hobby Stocks is a rear-wheel drive class and would be a great challenge to learn for the first year or so.”
Mikey Latham has made the smooth transition between classes and now holds 12 wins and two straight championships in the Hobby Stock division.
“Mikey has been such a fun kid to watch come up at the race track,” Mike Latham said. “We have as much fun as possible each and every week at the track being as tons of family and friends come each week to support him. Without all the sponsors and people that help, none of it would be possible. Also, Potomac Speedway does an astounding job giving us a place to race which keeps us all out of trouble.”
Next year, Mikey Latham hopes to have another successful season.
“The next racing season begins around the first week in March 2020 at Potomac Speedway. We are going to put a new body on the car and enjoy being the 2019 champion,” Mikey Latham said. “Of course we have to make sure the car is in top shape for the beginning of the year to have a shot at the championship. Some say that the race is won in the garage and I believe that's very true. We will continue in the Hobby Stock class for the 2020 season and hope for yet another successful year.”