Norfleet brothers are making noise in the racing biz


Ethan Norfleet, 14 (right), and his younger brother, Kingston, 9 (left), both competed in the U.S. Legend Cars International and INEX 2019 Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway this summer.

Racing fans worldwide know all about the Unser brothers, Al and Bobby.

Here in Somerset, we have an up and coming pair of racing brothers in Ethan and Kingston Norfleet.

Ethan, 14, and Kingston, 9, just wrapped up nine weeks of competition in the U.S. Legend Cars International and INEX 2019 Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"It draws racers from all over the world," said local attorney Robert Norfleet, his sons' sponsor and biggest fan. "And the local turnout in Charlotte is really good ... these races draw 1,500 to 2,000 people to the speedway to watch."

Ethan Norfleet has recently graduated to the Young Lions races in the Legends Division -- which means more horsepower and much more car to handle.

"Ethan went from a 35-horsepower car to a car with 135 to 140 horsepower," Robert Norfleet said. "The car weighs 800 or 900 pounds and they're really tough to drive.

"I didn't have high expectations, because I knew it would be a transition," Robert said. "But Ethan excelled."

Indeed. In 10 Legends races, the older Norfleet brother racked up four top five finishes, including a runner-up, and seven top 10 finishes. He finished sixth in the overall shootout points, out of 28 cars, and had a chance to finish even higher had some controversial circumstances not held him back.

In the ninth race, Ethan led most of the way and was in good shape in the third turn of the final lap, until the second place park bumped him and sent him into a spin-out.

NASCAR driver Noah Gregson, who was on hand for the race, even called the driver out on in a Tweet. "Talent. Pause Notttt."

"It was pretty cool that Noah stuck up for Ethan like that," Robert said.

The second-place car was disqualified, but the damage was done -- Ethan was robbed of the win.

"Ethan displayed good poise and character considering the circumstances," Robert said. "He raced hard, but clean, to get the lead and maintain it. After having the win taken from him in the manner he did, he remained calm post-race despite being visibly upset. So that was a proud parent moment as well."

Kingston, meanwhile, made a bit of a comeback in the Beginners division. Earlier in the year, Kingston broke his foot and suffered a possible concussion in a crash.

"Kingston was anxious to get back at it," Robert said. "He drove incident-free races, stayed on the lead lap, learned a lot, and, most importantly, had lots of fun."

The Norfleet brothers and their supporters spent nine weeks of venturing back and forth between Somerset and Charlotte for the events. It was a grueling run, according to dad.

"It takes a lot of work and a lot of time," Robert said. "We enjoyed it, but I'm glad it's over for now."

But the racing season isn't quite over for the Norfleets. They will compete this fall in the Legends Nationals in Caraway, North Carolina.

"If I could get the boys to take up landscaping, my life would be much easier," Robert said with a laugh.