The McCaskill family name is synonymous with Southern National Motorsports Park. Deac McCaskill is a four-time track champion while Deac’s cousin, Bradley, has won several races. Now, Deac’s daughter, Ashlyn McCaskill, is continuing the family legacy.
Ashlyn McCaskill, 15, from Raleigh, North Carolina, started out her racing career in the U-CAR division at Southern National Motorsports Park last fall and raced full-time in the division in 2016. During her rookie season, she picked up two wins at the track that has been like a second home to her for much of her life.
“It was amazing,” Ashlyn said about her first win. “We weren’t expecting me being my first full season racing and seventh race to win. It was just so cool. For it to be at Southern National was really cool because my family has history. All my family was there.”
After that win, she dedicated the victory to her cousin, Bradley, who had suffered third degree burns in an accident during a Late Model race at East Carolina Motor Speedway just a few weeks prior.
“After Bradley’s accident, me and dad wanted to win the race for him,” Ashlyn recalled. “This was the first win in our family car since his accident and he was able to be there which made it very special.”
She told her parents, Deac and Sandy McCaskill, when she was 13 that she wanted to race. Last year, Deac skipped out on competing in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway to prepare a U-CAR for Ashlyn so she could race in a Powderpuff exhibition race at Southern National.
“It was a class that my dad started in,” Ashlyn commented. “He thought it would be a good way of learning and having fun.”
For Sandy, watching her daughter race brings both nerves and excitement. When Ashlyn won, it was just joy.
“It was amazing and a moment I will never forget,” Sandy said. “It was such a shock for us that she won so quickly.”
Now that Ashlyn has won races, she is hoping to score a victory in the 30 lap Kenly Real Estate U-CAR feature race during Saturday night’s portion of the Thanksgiving Classic.
“It would be really really cool and amazing to win honestly,” Ashlyn stated. “Because, just winning there is really cool because of dad’s history and it’s a big race.”
Ashlyn hopes to continue having success in racing wants to continue learning.
“Next year, I’m going to stay in the U-CARs,” Ashlyn explained. “I’ll take it race by race and might move up but I’ll continue racing because it’s something I love and has always been a part of my life. My goal would be just continuing to be successful and learning more about the handling of the car.”
Being part of the McCaskill family at Southern National Motorsports Park is much like being an Earnhardt in NASCAR or being from the Andretti family in Open Wheel racing. However, Ashlyn McCaskill doesn’t feel any pressure to live up to the name – she just wants to have fun.
“Um, maybe a little, not really,” Ashlyn said when asked if there’s any pressure on her because of her name. “I know there’s a lot of history behind the name and that makes it cool because everybody knows who I am”
While Ashlyn is hoping to write her own history, she also appreciates the history her father has made at the Lucama, North Carolina racetrack. There are a few moments that stand out for her in particular.
“Dad’s CARS Tour win last May after finding out about my grandma having cancer, dad’s win at South Boston in 013 after he and Lee Pulliam battled side-by-side the whole race and he won and going with dad every weekend and helping him clean his car and take times.”
The entire McCaskill racing family will be in action in the Thanksgiving Classic. Ashlyn will race in the U-CAR race on Saturday night while Deac and Bradley will both compete in Sunday’s 200 lap Late Model Stock Car race. Bradley will also race in Saturday night’s Mini’s Mission 75 lap Limited Late Model race.