They say racing runs deep within a family and that’s exactly the scene for youngster Riley Gentry. Gentry’s father Randy Gentry started racing at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Late Model Stock Cars in 1989. Randy would eventually transition into Super Late Models later into his career.

In 2019 at Greenville Pickens the younger Gentry stepped foot into a Late Model Stock Car for the first time. He’s been hooked ever since and while there have been challenges for the up and coming Late Model Stock Car driver, he’s continuing to hone his craft to make a name for himself.

He says that being consistent and saving his equipment will be key to his success as he begins racing the best Late Model Stock Car drivers more.

“Being consistent is one of the biggest parts of Late Model Stock Car racing I think for sure,” Gentry explained. “Busting a lap off in qualifying is one thing but being there at the end of the race is another. If you can get a car really consistent and hitting your marks lap after lap at any track, I think you will run really good everywhere you go.”

Riley Gentry’s #09 entry sits in the pits as his team works on his car during a practice session for last fall’s South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway on November 20, 2020. (Andy Newsome Photo)

When the CARS Tour division announced they were headed to Greenville Pickens for the rescheduled $30,000 to win Old North State Nationals race last season, Gentry was ready for the challenge.

“I was very thrilled when I heard they were coming to Greenville,” Gentry said of the CARS Tour. “You don’t have many opportunities like that when there is $30,000 at the track right next door. To be the hometown guy was awesome. We shocked a lot of people on how we ran in the top ten all day especially with some of the bigger guys coming up after the race talking with me. CARS Tour is just all around an amazing series and I hope it is around for a very long time.”

Gentry is making the trip to Florence Motor Speedway this weekend for the IceBreaker. Last year he made the trip for the South Carolina 400 and qualified 11th, but ultimately had some tough luck during the race with resulted in a 27th place finish. Gentry is looking to capitalize on what he learned from last year’s race to get a better finish to start the year.

Riley Gentry (09) races alongside Austin McDaniels (12) for a position in the South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway on November 21, 2020, (Andy Newsome photo)

“I know saving is a big key but also at the same time having a good spot to save versus a bad spot can go a long way,” Gentry said. “I’ve talked about it with my team and we are very excited to go back with everything that we learned at the 400. Really just to make it to the end and have a shot to win is the biggest thing. Setting my goal for a top 10, so we’ll see what happens.”

When it comes to the 2021 season Gentry is hoping to follow the CARS Tour as well as making stops at his home track of Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Tri-County Motor Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway and others depending on how the schedules fall. Gentry is looking to simply just have consistent finishes.

“I just want to finish good everywhere we go,” Gentry commented. “Having consistently good finishes every race. Also, take what we have learned last year and apply everything to our 2021 season.”

Gentry’s father made a name for himself during his time of racing and with runs like he had in the Old North State Nationals last year, Riley Gentry could be one of the new faces of Late Model Stock Car racing soon.

Cover photo by Andy Newsome.