MOUNT VERNON — Sprint car racing is in Justin Youngquist’s blood.
The 20-year-old Burlington man has been racing at tracks, including Skagit Speedway, since he was 9 years old — about the same age as some of the kids he visited Tuesday at the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club.
“I was actually at the races when I was 2 weeks old,” Youngquist told a group of children.
Youngquist visited the club as part of “race week,” which incorporated the sport of racing into games, arts and crafts.
“We like to expose them to different careers and interests,” club Director Angela Freeberg said.
Sprint car racing is something with which many of the kids m
ay not be familiar, said club youth development professional Shay Nootenboom.
“If you can’t get there, I want to bring it to you,” she said. “There’s a lot of different hobbies to be into.”
Sprint car racing is an interest of Nootenboom’s.
“I wanted to bring something of my life to the kids,” Nootenboom said.
Photo: Brandy Shreve / Skagit Valley Herald
Youngquist was a natural choice to talk to the kids, she said.
“He’s very community-oriented,” she said. “I knew all he was thinking about was making kids happy.”
Youngquist said he makes a point of visiting schools whenever he is asked. It’s not only good for business, he said, but also a perk of the job.
“It’s so rewarding to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “I just want to be a positive influence.”
After signing photos for each kid, Youngquist took time to answer some questions.
“Is it dangerous?” one girl asked.
Driving at speeds of up to 130 mph can be dangerous, Youngquist said.
“But it’s a lot of fun,” he added.
Youngquist was not able to bring his sprint car to the club on Tuesday, but he hopes to bring it by in the next few weeks so kids can see it.