12-year-old Michael Fullerton wins special race at Bemidji Speedway

Michael Fullerton is a 12-year-old boy who has SATB2-associated syndrome. His love for racing has reached a new level thanks to a little help from the Bemidji Speedway community.

Michael Fullerton (front) and Josh Berg celebrate with raised hands in Victory Lane on Aug. 29 at Bemidji Speedway. (Dennis Peterson / Special to the Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- There are times during a long summer of racing that one forgets what the sport is truly all about. But on Aug. 29 at Bemidji Speedway, all were reminded.

That reminder came in the form of Michael Fullerton, a 12-year-old boy who has SATB2-associated syndrome and happens to love racing. He is unable to speak but shares his love for racing by his yells, screams and motions of his hands and arms in delight at the sight of race cars -- including the one driven by his father, Matt Fullerton.

Family, friends and fellow drivers came together to help Michael’s dream come true during the track’s Aug. 29 regular season finale. Racer Josh Berg put a helmet on Michael and invited him into his racecar. Michael has many times sat in a car, and even has done a few laps on the track, but never in a race setting.

Until now.

The newfound team was joined on the track by drivers Alex Johnson, Ricky Jacobson, Kevin Bahr and Brandon Bahr -- in an assortment of car classifications -- and the makeshift race was on.


Flagman Tim Jackson waved the green flag, and the intense, side-by-side racing began.

Despite a strong push from their opponents, Michael and Berg pulled ahead in time to claim the checkered flag and book a trip to Victory Lane.

As fellow racers, crew members and fans cheered him on, Michael lifted his hands in the air. He raised the well earned checkered flag in the air to signal a victory unlike any other all summer.

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