Tampa Bay Area Auto Racing Phenom Wins Rotax Pan American Challenge, Beating 33 of World's Top Young Racing Stars

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12-year-old Aidan Keel from Plant City executed a dramatic pass on the final lap in New Orleans to outpace the best aged 10-13 international drivers from the U.S., Canada, South America and Central America. The win propels Aidan to next month's Grand Finals where World Champions will be crowned.

Aidan Keel at the Start

Racing has always been a hobby in our family so I have been lucky to be exposed to the excitement of this sport from a very young age.

12-year-old Aidan Keel's final corner pass to win his October 13th Pan American Challenge race has put the young driver on the fast track for a chance at a world championship title.

Aidan, who's been racing competitively since the age of seven, drives in the mini-max class with a Birel chassis and a Rotax engine. He races with the Andersen Racing Team out of Palmetto, FL and he's sponsored by Plant City's Keel and Curley Winery - where his grandfather, Joe Keel, is the owner.

The top three finishers in last weekend's race earned invitations to the Rotax Grand Finals in New Orleans which runs from November 13-16, 2013. The Grand Finals will feature 34 of the world's best drivers in each of six different age groups - with the winners being crowned "World Champions".

"This is a significant milestone for our son who loves the competitive nature of racing, and like most of the top racing kids, he loves going fast," said Aidan's dad, Ryan Keel. "We are very proud of his accomplishments on the track, but more importantly we are happy that he has found a sport that he loves and that makes him happy."

"Racing has always been a hobby in our family so I have been lucky to be exposed to the excitement of this sport from a very young age," said Aidan Keel. "My family is very supportive, driving many many miles to races across the country, so we all share the fun and celebrate as a big family team when I have a good result."

The race victory was particularly dramatic because of the way Aidan caught the leader on the final lap - as summarized in eKartingNews.com:
"Sting Ray Robb’s lead was six tenths of a second but was gone come the final lap. Robb ran a defensive line heading onto the long straight for the final time, which slowed his momentum. Aidan Keel was able to power past him, and have the line into the final corner. He held the lead to the checkered flag to score the victory and secure his own ticket to the Invitational event."

Aidan is currently training, after school, for next month's Grand Finals in New Orleans.

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Scott Ledingham
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