In 2008, Warren Paxton made his very first career Mini Stock start at Flamboro Speedway in one of the biggest events of the year – Ocktoberfest.
“I went down to Flamboro – never driven a racecar before, only driven go-karts on a rental basis, never raced go-karts or anything like that,” he told the story a couple years ago. “So I’ve never raced a car – jumped in the car down there. I had a brand new suit, everything was brand new. It was really nervous for me, literally sitting in the line-up lane feeling like I was going to throw-up.
“So we went out and I started sixth in my first heat race and got to the front and ended up winning that, which started me outside pole for Ocktoberfest. I got a little nervous there, slid back to fifth in the first few laps and then slowly got one back, one back and ended up getting the win. So the first time out racing to get a feature win was pretty exciting.”
In 2013, Paxton added to the firsts in his Mini Stock career as he picked up his first career championship following a battle with Ben Melenhorst and Eric Yorke.
Consistency played a key role for the experienced driver as he had 14 wins and 26 top fives across 28 heats, as well as five wins and 14 top fives across the 14 features.
Three of those feature wins came during the first month of racing, including an interesting feature win following issues with lap traffic. Paxton worked his way to second and began to close the gap between himself and race leader Brandon McFerran. He closed the gap and going into the last couple of laps, he was right on McFerran’s bumper. In the final corner on the final lap, McFerran would find himself stuck behind lap cars, three-wide, blocked in. taking advantage of the situation, Paxton took the low line and snuck past for the victory.
Throughout the rest of the year, Paxton had some hard fought battles with McFerran, Melenhorst and Billy Swartzenburg. But in each of those battles, he was patient and as he learned early in his career, patience is key.
“Races are often lost on the first lap, but very seldom won,” he said. “So it’s all about patience. Take your time, don’t be a jerk, be courteous with other drivers. If they’ve got the lane, let them go because you know, once they’ll be courteous with you when you’ve got the spot. I get along with basically all the drivers here. I try to be friendly with everybody and it’s worked out well for me. That goes along way.
“But I think if there’s one thing that I’ve learned the most from a competitive standpoint, it’s to be patient.”