John Rittenoure - TULSA, Okla. (October 6, 2023) - One year ago (October 6, 2022) up and coming late model racer Hayden Ross lost his life in a off-track ATV accident near his home in Muskogee. His death shocked the racing community and ended a promising racing career.
Ross was having the best season of his young career. The 20-year old had just won his eight career Sooner Late Model Series feature at Thunderbird Speedway on Sept. 30. His last race came the next night at Tri-State Speedway where he finished sixth.
Despite the fact the season was not over Ross had locked up his first career Sooner Series points championship while also winning the Southern Touring Late Model Series championship.
Ross started his racing career in 2019 running four races with the Complete Well Testing Sooner Late Models. In 2020 Ross ran a full schedule and climbed to second in points behind champion Kip Hughes earning him Rookie of the Year honors, but still looking for his first victory.
The 2021 season saw Ross once again chasing Hughes for the points title and looking for first victory. Finally, on October 3 at Enid Speedway, Ross earned his first series win. But it was not enough to catch Hughes and he finished runner-up in points for the second straight year.
2022 was a breakout season for Ross. The Muskogee resident took over the points lead and won seven events on the way to the season championship.
Ross will always be remembered by the racing community for the person he was and for what he accomplished over a short time.