TALLADEGA, Ala (WIAT) — For the Merriman men, their way of life has always been racing.
“It’s something that’s in our blood. we were born into the sport and it’s just a way of life,” said Gary Merriman.
Gary is a third-generation racer, but lately, he’s been busy off the track at Talladega Superspeedway being the senior contractor of the new Talladega Garage Experience.
“It’s neat because you’re kind of making a part of history. I look back at my childhood and I see how Talladega and racing evolved and now being part of the race track transformation here has been neat,” said Merriman.
As for his son Jeb, he’s already making history. He started out as a race car driver at age 12.
“My whole family has done it and I just thought it’s my time. I wanted to see what it felt like,” said Jeb Merriman.
Jeb, now 13, has already raced in eight races. One of them, he took home the winning title.
“It was awesome. On that last lap, it got real sideways and just got around and it felt great,” said Jeb.
Jeb also raced against his grandfather and left everyone speechless.
“I guess about the sixth or seventh lap he passed my Dad for third so I knew then he was going to be alright. He’s a racer. I don’t think my Dad liked it much to be honest. He got out of the racecar and come over and kind of put Jeb in a headlock asked what he’s doing passing him, said Gary Merriman.
This isn’t just a sport. For Jeb and his family, this is true bonding. Jeb and his Dad build his car from the ground-up and his mom cheers in the stands. Now that Jeb has won a race, they’re moving him up a division.
“I’m very proud of him. He’s done something in a short amount of time. Huge accomplishment winning races and being able to compete. Even when he’s not winning, he’s running in the top two or three and just the talent level makes me proud. He’s a lot better racer than I am and he’s got the talent to go places,” said Gary Merriman.