At the age of 7, Jason Setser got his first crack at racing — with go-karts.
He’s been hooked ever since.
At 24 years old, Setser went from go-karts to three-quarter midget racing. The Columbus native had a great career going before he took a break from the sport 10 years ago to raise a family and to start his business. He returned to racing more than a year ago and currently, at 42 years of age, has picked up where he left off.
Setser passed Callie Wolsiffer of New Palestine on the restart with three laps to go to win the three-quarter midget finale Monday night at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds.
“She was running a good race, keeping it at the bottom, but I knew I had to hang with her at the start and get under and beat her going into Turn 1,” Setser said.
Setser is sponsored by The Cure Starts Now, a foundation that helps kids with brain cancer.
“All the earnings that I get from this car will go directly to them,” he said.
Wolsiffer, who settled for the runner-up finish, is one of the youngest competitors in the field at 21 years old, but she is no stranger to racing. She has been racing quarter midgets since she was 9.
“It has been a blast,” she said. “The crowd is amazing, and kids are so involved with this, and their enthusiasm makes it so much better.”
Wolsiffer’s car is owned by Tony Stewart. After Stewart completed his autograph session earlier in the evening, he stopped by to check in on his car and watch Wolsiffer race. She said this is the first night that Stewart has watched the team compete at the fairgrounds.
“He does a lot to help building the cars and maintaining them,” Wolsiffer said. “I didn’t win, but it was fun. He was signaling me throughout the race.”
Setser is not the only member of his family that races. His little brother Elijah, 24, has recently started racing three-quarter midgets, as well.
Setser has traveled as far as California for a race in the early part of his career but now mostly races in Indiana so he can have his four kids enjoy the sport with him every step of the way.
“I’ve had my wife travel with me all over the country, but once we started having kids, it started getting harder and harder bringing them to the racetrack. Now, it is great, and we have a lot of fun as a family.”
As much fun and experience Setser has in racing, he just plans to continue with three-quarter midget racing.
“I’ve gotten many opportunities to drive elsewhere, but I plan to stick with this,” he said. “I do this for fun, and it is more a hobby for me, and I have no intention of going somewhere else.”