Out of the ashes

After fire destroyed his race car and trailer while en route from the track from what proved to be his final race of 2023, Landyn Philpott regrouped and raced to the 2024 season-opening Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod feature win at Cottage Grove Speedway. He’s pictured with trophy girl Holland Boyce and crewman Mason Meyers. (Photo by Jason Davenport)

After trailer fire cuts 2023 season short, Philpott tops opener at Cottage Grove

La PINE, Ore. (April 20, 2024) – Standing by the side of Interstate 5 and surveying what was left of his burned out trailer and blackened remains of his race car last August, Landyn Philpott had to wonder what came next in his motorsports career,  if anything.

Fast forward to opening night Saturday at Cottage Grove Speedway and the youngster from La Pine was standing in victory lane, following his career-first Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod feature win.

“The win meant a lot to me because it was my first, but to be honest it meant more because of everything we had to do just to be able to race this year,” said Philpott, 17 years old and a junior at La Pine High School. “And because Cottage Grove was the last track we raced at last year.”

That last start, on Aug. 5, saw Philpott win his first heat race and run second in the main event, the best of his rookie season in the division.

After overnighting at the track, everyone loaded up and was headed south en route to a birthday party when Philpott’s father, crew chief and tow driver Dan looked in the rearview mirror and saw smoke coming from the trailer.

He pulled over to the side of the road and the call to 911 was made, but by the time they could get trailer doors opened the trailer was fully engulfed.

“My first thought was to get the car out,” said Philpott, who needed just a quick look to realize that would be impossible. “It couldn’t have been any worse at the time but it didn’t feel weird until we got home. There was no car to unload, and no trailer to unload it from.”

What was left of the 26-Haulmark Trailer and its contents were memories. Philpott’s 2017 Shaw Chassis, a back-up engine, spare parts, a golf cart and motorcycle were all lost in the fire believed to be electrical in origin while the motor home they used to tow it all with was later written off due to smoke damage.

Plans to race another 20 or so nights went on the shelf at that point as Philpott considered his on-track options for 2024.

“All the racing community came together for us and that meant a lot,” he said, after family, friends and fellow drivers chipped in toward his new car. “We respected each other racing last year and they wanted to help me be able to race this year.”

He bought the 2017 Twisted by Evo ride that Jason Clayton won the Marysville Raceway track title in last season. Philpott worked out the kinks in his first start April 13 at Yreka, then saw the stars align the following Saturday at Cottage Grove.

After setting fast time and finishing second in the dash, he ran third in his heat, drew the pole and led start to finish in the feature.

“I was nervous. I told dad I didn’t want to start on the pole. He told me to go out there and drive smart,” said Philpott, who rode around the tires as the laps wound down and won by two seconds. “My dad raced a Sprint Car and Modified here. For us to come back to Cottage Grove and win was a pretty emotional night.”

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