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December 12, 2023

Edmonton International’s Lucas Belbeck celebrates second championship in second season

(Photo: Lucas Belbeck)

In only his second year of racing, Lucas Belbeck already has two championships.

Not bad for a 15-year-old.

After winning the Future Stock division rookie of the year and track title at Canada’s Edmonton International Raceway in 2022, Belbeck returned this summer to win both awards in the track’s PURE Stock division.

Belbeck finished 2023 with four victories to claim the division by 13 points.

“I was extremely surprised how well I was doing,” Belbeck said. “I was expecting low to mid-field the entire season.”

Belbeck started the season in a Pontiac G6 and was racing in the middle of the pack for the first couple of races.

The engine in Belbeck’s car went out early in the season, forcing him to borrow a car from a friend. He ran the new car for the rest of the year while seeing his finishes get better and better.

Belbeck’s first win in 2023 came at the halfway point of Edmonton’s season. From there, he rolled.

“The first night that I got a win [in PURE Stocks], it was just a hard fight to get to first place,” Belbeck said. “I had to stay with the car ahead of me to make it to the end, and just be patient and wait for my chance for them to mess up, and I got into first and led the race.

“Just slowly as the season went on, I started getting better finishes, a couple podiums, and just [found consistency with] fourth, third place finishes. We ended up coming out on top.”

Lucas Belbeck earned his second straight title at Edmonton International Raceway in just his second year of racing at the track. (Photo: Lucas Belbeck)

Racing has come pretty natural for Belbeck, even though it wasn’t a sport he or his family had tried before. Belbeck grew up participating in hockey, lacrosse and swimming, but his friend’s dad would be the one to ask if he would be interested in trying racing, even if it was just for a day.

“We kind of went along with it,” Belbeck said. “It was extremely nerve-wracking. I didn’t know how it was going to go and it felt weird at first because it had never really drove a car much before this, so it was a scary feeling.”

Those apprehensive feelings didn’t last long, as Belbeck said it was quick for him to get comfortable between the wheel.

“First getting in the car it was kind of nerve-wracking, and then it just hits that you have to focus in,” he said. “The adrenaline hits and you don’t think about anything else but the race. It’s a mindset to get into, and it’s just, I don’t know, it’s perfect.”

Belbeck attributed a lot of his success to his mentor and fellow Edmonton champion Mitchell Bushnell, along with his dad, Jeremy, who Belbeck credits for always motivating him.

“They knew I could do better, so they pushed me to those standards,” Belbeck said.

Jeremy also competes in Edmonton’s PURE Stock division, having made his debut in the class this season. Belbeck said there has been a learning curve for both father and son, but the two are learning every week by racing alongside one another.

“It’s been interesting,” Belbeck said. “Perseverance, I definitely learned from [Jeremy]. There’s been a lot of technique because he’s done a lot of things that you can use skills from to bring into racing and he’s taught me a lot of skills. A lot of it is just perseverance and just staying in there.”

With two straight titles at Edmonton International Raceway under his belt, Lucas Belbeck is looking forward to 2024. (Photo: Lucas Belbeck)

There’s competition between the father and son, but they also share a bond as teammates working together, helping each other on the track, while also competing against one another.

The teamwork and spirited battles have raised an important question for Bilbeck: Is getting a win over his dad more fun?

“Yeah, kind of,” Belbeck said with a laugh.

After winning two titles in two years, Belbeck will look to make it three in a row when he moves up to Edmonton’s Thunder Car class in 2024.

When he first started competing, advancing into the Thunder Cars division was always a goal for Bilbeck because of how fond he is of those cars.

But he wasn’t expecting the move for at least five years.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “The rear-wheel drive is going to be interesting.”

The Belbecks are building the car this winter from the ground up. It’s a demanding process, but the young driver enjoys working in the garage just as much as he driving.

There really isn’t an aspect of racing he doesn’t enjoy.

“The other sports, there’s a team there, but in racing it’s you in the car by yourself,” he said. “On a team you’re relying on a lot of other people to be there to help you, and in racing if you mess up it’s on you. You can’t blame anyone but yourself. When you’re out there it’s you and only you.”

Belbeck is ready for the challenge of 2024 and beyond. He’s learned a lot in a short amount of time, and it has translated into tremendous success so far.

“I’ve learned [about] being confident in my own abilities in the car, and then just staying calm when things are starting to go wrong,” he said. “Just hold on and keep going.”