Trevor Frank’s girlfriend thinks he drives terribly in and around town.
“Once you get into the race car driver mindset, it’s a little hard to slow down sometimes,” he said.
Frank’s ability to drive at The Plymouth Dirt Track is anything but terrible, however, as the 2018 South graduate recently won a divisional title in just his second season.
How is that possible, since Frank had zero racing experience when he started last year?
“I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “My brother was good when he raced, but I had nobody really to teach me what to do. Me and my dad worked out of a one-car garage in the middle of Sheboygan. We don’t have a whole ton of money and my parents don’t really touch funding my car much, mostly because I don’t let them. It’s my hobby and I don’t want to make them pay for it. They do help out sometimes, but most of it is the fact I just work a bunch. I work a lot of overtime and that’s what was necessary to make this season even happen. I think I put probably every new suspension component that I could put in my car this offseason under the supervision of a guy I know. He was like, ‘hey, this is the kind of stuff you’re going to need to be successful’ and I just kind of chipped away at it. I knew I could be a successful driver, but last year the car just wasn’t where it needed to be. But truthfully, I don’t know how you go from never racing to winning. I picked it up really quick and it didn’t take me long to figure the cars out, but I don’t know how to explain how it happened.”
Frank’s grandfather raced in Plymouth, so as a child he would ask for autographs of the drivers that are now next to him in the pits. Frank’s brother raced right out of high school in 2012 but stopped in ’15.
“I was kind of lost without it, like we got really addicted to it as a family,” Frank said.
So Frank picked up photography and started taking pictures at the track for a few years.
“I then decided I was sick of watching everyone else have fun and I was going to take the deep dive and buy a car,” he said.
He did some research and thought B Mods made the most sense to him.
Only Frank did not have a car to ride in.
So the forklift operator purchased one and had it delivered, but did not tell his father right away.
“He came home from work and I told him I had a surprise for him,” Frank said.
Frank distinctly remembers getting into the car for his first race at Gravity Park in Chilton.
“I was not sure what was going to happen,” he said. “As a rookie, they made me start in the back of the heat race and there were 40-something sport mods there. I finished fourth and transferred to the feature. I was like, ‘oh my God, I didn’t know I could do that.'”
Frank finished 18th and the next day started a heat race on the pole because of the draw. He won that, only to miss the feature race because it was rained out.
That was the only time Frank took first place last year, however. He says he had “a bunch of good runs” that helped him take seventh place that earned him rookie of the year honors by PDTR.
“I remember being super nervous, and ever since that first race, the nerves don’t even get to me in my car anymore,” Frank said. “My family gets more nervous than I do and I’m the one driving.”
In the offseason, Frank did more research, and spent time and money putting together a car to get faster.
With about a month left in the season, Frank was 30 points behind the leader. Entering the final night on Sept. 11, he was just two back.
Frank tied Justin Bauer for the lead after the heat race. He started the feature race 13th and took fifth – ahead of Bauer – to claim the championship.
“When I crossed the checkered flag I felt my shoulders relax because I was so tense,” Frank said. “It was like, ‘oh my God! I can’t believe we just did that.’
“It was unbelievable. I never raced anything before. I have no car experience whatsoever before 2020, so this year winning a championship is pretty insane.”
Making it even more memorable is the fact Frank drove in a purple car (to symbolize dementia) and to honor his grandmother who passed away in December.
“That’s all I could think of in that (winning) moment,” he said. “I did it, and I did it for a bigger cause. It’s not for the money, it’s not for the trophy and that stuff, it was for my grandma because she was someone who believed in me. I kind of knew every time I strapped in that she was with me, so it was a really special season for me and my family.”
Speaking of family, Frank says his brother is returning to racing next summer. In fact, Brandon bought Frank’s car and got it after the race.
“I rolled it into my trailer after championship night and rolled it right into his garage at his house,” Frank said. “So yeah, he’ll be back in a car next year, which is super exciting.”
As for Frank, his new car is getting put together and he’ll probably pick it up before the end of the year.
“I do have plans for next year, I just haven’t really been telling anybody,” Frank said. “There are some people that know and some people that don’t. It’s just kind of one of those things I’m keeping under wraps until we decide to announce it.”