Teen Drivers Take Over Off-Road Truck Racing
At X Games Austin 2015, five of the 16 drivers invited to compete in Off-Road Truck Racing are teenagers, and four of them are 17 and younger.
Teens may be commonplace in the world of X Games, but it's one thing to ride a skateboard when you're 15 and another to drive a $200,000 truck when you don't even have a road license.
In 2014, five teens competed in the brand new X Games discipline, taking four of the top five spots. Apdaly Lopez, then 19, won gold last year, becoming the youngest car or truck driver to earn gold at X Games.
Sheldon Creed, then 16, took silver and became the youngest car or truck driver to medal at X Games. Creed went on to win the 2014 Pro Lite class in LOORS ahead of drivers like Brian Deegan and was the youngest driver to win the class. Now 17, Creed has been turning heads since joining the Stadium Super Trucks roster in 2013. And unlike some of the other teenagers in his discipline, he actually has a driver's license.
Jerett Brooks and Scotty Steele, both then 16, got fourth and fifth, respectively, last year in Austin. Brooks, a promising short-course racer who won the Pro Lite class of the TORC series in 2014, is now focused on the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series in 2015 and will do select Stadium Super Trucks races.
Steele is one of the most promising up-and-comers in a relatively new discipline. He competed in the entire Stadium Super Trucks series in 2014 and finished fourth overall. He's dedicated to the entire series again in 2015.
Gavin Harlien, who was 14 last year, was the youngest person to compete in an X Games motorized event. He finished ninth. Harlien made a name for himself at the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series in 2014, where he was named rookie of the year after finishing sixth overall in Pro Lite. This year, he's still not old enough for a regular road license (he got his permit in February).
All of last year's teens will return to X Games in 2015. In addition, C.J. Greaves, age 19, will make his X Games debut. Greaves, who's from Green Bay, Wisconsin, grew up racing motocross before switching to off-road trucks at age 14. He currently competes in the Pro 4 class on the TORC series. His father is legendary off-road racer Johnny Greaves, who won TORC's Pro 4 division as recently as 2013.
The youth may have the upper-hand in numbers, but they'll have experience to contend with, as well. NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, 58, will be coming out of retirement to race at X Games; 11-time X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana will be testing his hands behind the wheel of a truck; and Stadium SUPER Trucks founder Robby Gordon aims to give the kids a run for their money, too.
This article originally appeared on ESPN.