WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s the middle of the high school football season and the end of the stock-car racing season.
For Chase Roberton, a senior at Oak Grove High School in Davidson County, it couldn’t be any better. While he plays linebacker on the football team, he drives a racecar around the football field at Bowman Gray Stadium. For his family, football is a game, and racing is life.
“I play outside linebacker. I’ve been playing linebacker since I was a freshman,” Chase said. “I played JV my freshman and sophomore year and then started varsity my junior, and this is my senior year. I think I’m pretty good.”
Chase is good. Racking up tackles and sacks and always with an eye toward the ball. It’s all the stuff that makes a parent love to watch.
“My favorite pastime besides racing is football. So you know I enjoy watching him,” Mike Robertson says about watching his son play football for the past 13 years.
But for the Robertsons, football isn’t the family sport. Racing is.
“I always tell everybody that ever since I was born, it was a race car in my house. So I don’t know anything different,” the elder Robertson said.
Chase is no different. He’s the second driver in the third generation of Robertsons to race at Bowman Gray Stadium over the last 50 years. Chase’s dad and brother Ryan drove for the family team for years, and Chase started in the small kid-sized cars like Bandoleros until he reached the age when the tracks would let him drive the full-sized cars.
“Just seeing my brother and dad do it, I just wanted to be like my brother for so long, seeing him race to see how good he was and see what kind of driver he was. That’s what I want to be,” Chase said.
“We put him in a big car…he just had natural ability,” Mike said.
Chase has raced at tracks across the state, but Bowman Gray Stadium where they race around the football field is home is just about 10 miles from his house. He’s been racing there since he turned 14 and has learned a lot.
And even if you think a racing schedule and a football schedule would clash, you haven’t met Chase.
“I’ve kind of been doing it all my life. So it’s kind of just like natural now. Just really don’t think about it. Just go play on Friday night, and then wake up the next morning and go give it my all on the track,” Chase said.
Dad takes up some of the slack working on the car during the football part of the season when Chase has practice and games, but race days are for racing. And in 2022, those days were the best. Three wins and a bunch of top fives, and he finished every single race.
“I think I stepped up as a driver. I think we stepped up as a team. Between my rookie year and then last year, I’ve had people come up to me this year saying how I’ve grown between last year and this year as a driver, and I see that,” Chase said.
As a senior, Chase is weighing his options for college and that could include football. But his racing future is always available.
“The race car will always be here for him. Always. He’ll always have a ride. Racing ain’t gonna stop,” his dad said.