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‘Speed Addict’ New Lenox Native On Track For Motorcycle Racing Success

Community Corner ‘Speed Addict’ New Lenox Native On Track For Motorcycle Racing Success Kevin Horney jumped to the professional ranks of motorcycle racing in three months and now has his sights set on chasing the sport’s best. Reply
New Lenox native Kevin Horney has been riding dirt bikes and motorcycle since he was a kid but needed only three months to jump to the professional ranks of racing in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Horney)
NEW LENOX, IL — A photo of a crying baby sitting in a diaper may seem like a strange source from which to draw passion. But for Kevin Horney, that’s precisely when his need for speed apparently began.
Horney, a lifelong New Lenox resident and 2020 Lincoln-Way Central graduate, points to that photo of himself as one of the reasons why he is where he is today. Horney looks at the decades old photo memory that captured him crying as he points to his father and brother as they speed by him on dirt bikes as the moment when he knew he was born to ride. Horney took his first dirt bike ride at age 2. Now, 18 years later and years after he started racing dirt bikes, the car enthusiast turned professional motorcycle track racer finds himself in the infancy of a career that took off much faster than he expected but that seems to have no limits.
A racing career that started when Horney was 6 and ran until just before he started high school, has taken off in ways Horney — who has been working as a local real estate agent with the Wexler Group — faster than he could have ever imagined. The transition from his first track-racing experience to his first professional race last fall at the famed Daytona International Speedway lasted only three months, quickly changing the way that Horney looked at the sport. “I’m not too sure of the normal route people take, but to me, it’s been extremely fast,” Horney told Patch this week. “It’s been a pretty much life-changing experience.”
Kevin Horney won a national championship and captured four second-place finishes at his first weekend of professional racing at Daytona International Speedway in October, (Photo courtesy of Kevin Horney) Horney had always been aware of the sport’s top names, but said he initially stopped racing dirt bikes because of the number of injuries he sustained between ages 6 and 14. Despite that, all his childhood idols were motocross racers and named his first dog after motocross and stock car racer Ricky Carmichael, further sparking his speed addiction. Horney purchased his first street bike in 2019 but then quickly sold that before turning his attention to a track bike that would change everything. He found his way to Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, where he found the safe and controlled atmosphere much more appealing to ride than on the street, where he admits he had found trouble in the past.
After testing his skills on a track, where speeds can reach anywhere between 150 and 200 mph, Horney saw his passion for track racing take off, launching him into a quest to take his racing career to the next level. Horney much of the credit for his accelerated jump onto the pro circuit to Owen Johnson, who took notice of Horney’s social media posts and encouraged him to bring his bike to the Joliet track. Johnson, who serves as the northern director of racing Track Time, an organization which hosts track days for motorcycle and car enthusiasts to put their skills to the test in a controlled environment.
Within days of Horney making his first track appearance in Joliet in July, Johnson pushed Horney to take the next step, which meant making a major jump in the competitive level at which he raced. While advancing through the ranks of Track Time events and moving from beginner to intermediate and then to advanced can take years, Johnson watched as Horney progressed in just a matter of weeks. The sudden progression didn’t come without effort, however. “I saw he was able to apply what was he was being told and he rose through the ranks very fast,” Johnson told Patch on Thursday. “For someone to put in the time and dedication and money into it that he put into it, you could tell he just really wanted it. “He was relentless about it. He really wanted it. …and it paid off.” Over the next three months, Horney visited as many tracks as he could, getting a feel for various layouts and racing surfaces. Expanding his knowledge base, he knew, would only pay off in his quest to chase after track racing’s biggest prize.
Kevin Horney now has his sights set on reaching the top levels of professional motorcycle racing. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Horney) Johnson provided Horney with the schedule for the Championship Cup Series/ASRA Series 39th Race of Champions at Daytona in early October. At the storied Daytona track that is also home to the Daytona 500, Johnson captured a national championship and placed second in four other races in what was his introduction to professional racing. Since then, he has made plans to expand his racing schedule and has picked up a sponsorship from Olson’s Custom Detailing in New Lenox. He now has his sights set on chasing after the sport’s biggest names and knows the effort that will be required to make a name in the sport’s biggest events such as MotoGP, which hasn’t featured an American racer since 2015 when Nicky Hayden represented the U.S. in the worldwide racing event. That’s a tall order, Johnson says, but based on the way Horney’s career has taken off, finding that level of success isn’t out of the realm of possibility, he said. “It’s a tough business and there’s always going to be someone faster than you,” Johnson said. “That’s just the name of the game. But (Horney) has the potential to (get there). You just have to want it and go after it and then put the work in and the effort in and it’s possible.” Being so young in his professional racing journey, Horney has no idea what the future holds and for now, he’s just holding on for dear life as he tackles what he knows could be a major curve. But after finding success at Daytona just three months into his track racing career, Horney is ready for what the world of professional racing throws at him.

web-interns@dakdan.com

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