Unbuckled: Getting to Know Kyle MacAskill


Hometown: Williamstown, VT

Division: Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors

Car: Blakeman’s Towing & Recovery/Jewett’s Auto Body #07 Chevy Cavalier

2018 Season: 2 feature wins & 4 top-5 finishes


What are your favorite hobbies outside of racing?

My number one hobby would be R/C racing. I’ve been R/C racing in Barre since I was six. Most recently I’ve been running CoT, which is the cars with the 4th-gen body that they raced in NASCAR. They’re 1/12-scale cars. Other than that, I pretty much just work on cars all day when I’m not actually working.

What do you do for work?

For my daily job, I work at Swenson Granite. I work in the shed – I’m a gantry crane operator. They have a five-ton gantry crane. I just move stuff all day. That’s all I do – everyone else makes it, and I just move it. (Laughs) After that, I work on my car usually, or other people’s cars – it’s never-ending. I have an ’85 (Chevy) Monte Carlo that’s been my daily driver. I’m upgrading it all the time. And I just bought a ’68 (Dodge) Dart project car.

What are your racing plans for 2019? Do you have any goals?

This year, I’m hoping to run every race for the Street Stocks and try to go for Rookie of the Year. I bought Pat Tibbett’s car from this past season. I’m thinking of also maybe taking my (Warrior) car over to Bear Ridge a little bit if I don’t sell it. I haven’t decided yet.

What was the highlight of the 2018 season for you?

The highlight was definitely my second win. My first win, I was just dumbfounded about. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. But that really got me what I needed in order to want to win. After that, I really just wanted to win – that’s all I wanted to do. (Laughs) With the second win, I actually had to pass cars to win, which was new for me. I never really did any passing before that – I just kind of rode around, mostly. As soon as I got that first one, I just had to win more.

The final weekend of last season (Milk Bowl), you ran the Warriors on Friday and then the Street Stocks on Saturday and Sunday. What was that experience like?

That was pretty rough, because I ran the Road Warrior on Friday night, and then I had to bring that home, take the seat out, and put it into the Street Stock. Then I had to put it on the scales and make sure it was all there. It was my first time driving that car. And I had never driven a standard transmission before until I literally got to Thunder Road, so that was a new learning experience for me. But I still got ninth overall after starting in the back of both segments because I scratched in each one.

How did you get started in racing?

My dad Robert – most people know him as Bob – used to race way back when, but after his accident, he never really raced again. (Ed. Note: Bob MacAskill was involved in a Flying Tiger crash at Sanair Superspeedway in 1991 that caused severe burns and effectively ended his driving career.) But he was R/C racing with my older brother, and then I had to get in on it. I was 6, maybe 7, when I started R/C racing. Then it turned into big cars later on. As soon as I got my learner’s permit, I was racing in Enduros, and did four or five of those. At that point, the Road Warriors started up, so I decided I’d try that instead of an Enduro car.

So you wanted to try and go when there were fewer than 100 cars on the track?

Yeah. (Laughs) You can actually drive and race in the Warriors.

Can you tell me about your family?

Usually it’s just me and my dad, and we pretty much do everything here. I do have some cousins that come and watch all the time – they’re always there every week. It’s unbelievable, because I grew up watching my cousin Micheal race Street Stocks, and I was playing with my matchbox cars up in the grandstands. And now it’s the other way around, where my cousins are up in the grandstands and I’m racing.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment to be?

I’m have to say my biggest accomplishment is winning my first and second race in the same year. I honestly think that’s probably my biggest accomplishment. I’ve got plenty of time to accomplish more things, though .

Do you have anyone that you consider a role model or that you look up to?

My dad would definitely be my role model, for sure. He’s always been there, and he always knows what’s best, even if I don’t.

What’s the most memorable trip of vacation you ever went on?

I don’t remember when this was, but we went to New York by the Great Escape. They have a go-kart track there right next the campground at Lake George. I stayed there with my uncle, my aunt, my mom and dad, my brother, and my aunt’s kids, and we raced go-karts for hours and hours. And then there was, not a tornado, but the skies just opened with a typhoon of water raining down. Then it was time to go home and stay in the truck because it was pouring and lightning everywhere. It was a very sudden ending to a day of racing. (Laughs) I don’t even remember how old I was for that – I was probably 9, maybe 10.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I’d probably go for super strength, because then you can do pretty much anything you want. It covers almost all of them, so it’s a conservative option. You can move a lot of granite, and you can hide it easily, too.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

People interrupting me. Normally people jump in front of me because I talk a little bit slow and I’m trying to think of what I’m saying. But people keep jumping in front of me because of that, and it drives me nuts, usually.

What are the top items on your bucket list?

I haven’t really thought about that. One would be to go to the 24-hour race of LeMans. I definitely want to go there. There is one other thing I’ve always wanted to do, but I never thought it’d be very practical. I want to put a V8 engine in a little Scion smart car. I’ve always thought that would be the coolest thing. But I’m not an engineer by a long shot for something like that. (Laughs) Still, I’ve always wanted one of those just because. Not because it’s practical, just because.

Finish this sentence: on a Friday night, you’ll typically find me….

Hunched over the hood of a car working on the motor. (Laughs) It’s just me and my dad working on the cars, but I try to do as much of it as I can.

Who is your biggest fan at the track?

Probably my aunt Beth would be my biggest fan. When she watches a race and you’re doing well or there’s something going on, she’s freaking out all the time. I got to watch her when Micheal was first racing, and it’s pretty funny to watch, actually. She’s freaking out with her hands over her eyes – not watching, but she is.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?

I’m going to have to say two people. One of them is my dad, because he’s my role model in racing. The other one is Nick Sweet. I helped him work on his Late Model for the 2016 season. I learned a lot from Nick just watching how he did things, and how he performed on the track, and listening in on the radio. It taught me a lot about how to race.

If you could pass along one piece of advice or a life lesson to your younger self or other people your age, what would it be?

Definitely pursue what you want to do after school, whether it’s right away or later on. You definitely need to do what you want to do. Don’t leave your dreams on the shelf.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

Oh, lord. I don’t really know where I plan to go in five years. I kind of want to move down South, but I need to work and make the money to do that. I haven’t really thought about what exactly I’d want to do down there – it’s mainly because I’d want to go somewhere warmer and somewhere where there’s a lot of stuff to do. Charlotte and Lexington are probably my favorite places.

What would you do with your life if you never had to worry about money again?

I’d be racing a lot more, I can tell you that. (Laughs) I’d race pretty much anywhere, for one. I wouldn’t be working so much, either.  I don’t really know how else to answer that, other than just that I’d be racing a lot more. I’m not much of a dreamer.