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Rookie of the year

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December 16, 2009 - Atlas Twp.-Like most 16-year-olds, Stephen Bobek can drive. But unlike other teen drivers, when he climbs behind the wheel there are all left turns, inches off the ground and at nearly 100 mph.

"These cars are so tiny and absolutely fun to drive," he said. "I started driving dwarf cars a few years ago and joined the series of races last summer."

Mirroring the period style of early stock car racing, Dwarf cars are 5/8 scale replicas of 1928 to 1948 American vintage coupes, sedans and pickups. The metal bodies are on a 73-inch wheelbase at a 40 inches height. They are powered by four-cycle motorcycle engines with up to 1250cc displacement. Yet the speeds can top 100 mph, just a few inches off the track.

Stephen joined his father Pat Bobek, who is now competing in his third season in the Midwest Classic Racers Dwarf Series. Stephen was named 2009 Rookie of the year.

"We race all over the state from Owosso to Midland. It's just a lot of fun," he said. "This year was great. I won four heat races but not the main event. There are some really good drivers out there with a lot of experience. They're fantastic to watch."

While Stephen has a few years of high school yet to complete before hitting the major racing circuit, he hopes someday to forgo the dwarf cars and step up to NASCAR.

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