By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published August 6, 2020
ATLANTA– Seeing colorful cars zoom around a track sparked the early interest of Drew Dollar, a 19-year-old Atlanta native who is now climbing in the ARCA Menards Racing Series driver standings.
After watching races and attending a few, he started to drive race cars at age 16, while still a student at Marist School in Atlanta. Dollar said the enjoyment of being around other drivers and the competition itself drew him into the sport.
In 2016, Dollar started racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, later moving up to Legend cars for two years. In 2018, he won 20 races across the country and earned the INEX Semi-Pro National Points Championship in his Legend car. In February 2019, he led for 48 laps in a racing debut at Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. That September, he earned his first late model victory at South Boston Speedway in Virginia. Last season also included many top-5 and top-10 finishes throughout the year.
Now Dollar competes full-time in the ARCA Menards Racing Series, driving the number 15 Toyota Camry, which earned the 2019 series championship.
The ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) Series, acquired by NASCAR in 2018, is considered a great series for beginning drivers.
Dollar’s car just got a makeover, racing on the track in bright green and white. Toyota does a lot for driver development to make drivers better, said Dollar.
“I’m proud to represent Toyota–there’s no manufacturer that does it as well as they do,” he said.
One of the highlights of Dollar’s racing career came on June 20, when he won his first championship at Talladega Superspeedway for the ARCA Menards Series in Alabama. It was only his fifth start in the ARCA Menards series. Since then, he has finished in at least the top-10 of most of his consecutive races.
While Dollar competes behind the wheel, his Catholic faith remains an important part of life. His family previously attended Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Atlanta. He was a Eucharistic Minister at school, confirmation leader at church and was active in community service in Atlanta.
“Faith has impacted me through my life,” said Dollar, who now is based in North Carolina.
When things don’t feel like they are going as they should, faith is something to lean on, he said.
Dollar graduated from Marist School in 2019. He attended the school from 7-12 grade.
“I really enjoyed my time at Marist,” said Dollar.
Kind, respectful and engaged are words that Dr. Jerry Aull, a teacher at Marist School, uses to describe his former student. Aull was the teacher of Dollar’s religion classes in his junior and senior years.
For a senior final, Dollar presented a “TED Talk” about how he would contribute to the world, based on his calling in life.
“I encouraged Drew to talk about his racing aspirations and the students were fascinated,” said Aull.
Dollar’s quiet leadership, solid values and faith-filled hope will help him in his racing career, said the teacher.
Aull hopes Dollar’s “God-given talents flourish in a life of great witness.”
Dollar, who played on Marist’s tennis team, was accepted to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, but deferred his enrollment to focus on his racing career. The next few months have Dollar competing nearly every weekend on racetracks in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee. He looks forward to competing with friends.
Dollar said one key to success is surrounding yourself with good people who want you to succeed. As of Aug. 4, Dollar was number three in the series standings of more than 70 drivers.
His advice to aspiring drivers is to “take it one race at a time.”
For Drew Dollar’s racing schedule, visit www.arcaracing.com/schedule/.