CLOVIS, Calif. -- Some kids across the Central Valley dream of becoming professional baseball or football stars, but 12-year-old Skyler Schoppe is a little different.
"Well, I'd love to be a race car driver," Schoppe said. "A lot of people make the joke of, you know, racecar drivers all they do is left turn and go in circles. But it's a lot more than that. It's a true sport and it's right up there with the others."
The Clovis native is relatively new to the sport.
"I first started actually just last year."
Skyler got his first dose of track experience with 3K Motorsports in a bandolero car.
It was in that mini-stock car that he would race into second place for the season, just one point below the leader.
"Trying to hold back the tears," said Greg Schoppe, Skyler's father.
Greg has been with his son every step of the way.
"I don't know where he gets it," Greg says. "Ever since he's been little he's just had this fascination with cars."
A fascination that would turn every NASCAR race day into an examination.
Skyler would carefully place little cars on a track at his home, analyzing any and all mistakes on a caution flag.
"It's like he's got this inner race car soul in him," said Greg.
But that old soul still couldn't prepare him for his first big race of the season last week at Madera Speedway.
"Definitely very, very nervous. That's also the first thing for everything. Whether it's your first basketball game, or football game," Skyler said.
Schoppe is now in the driver's seat of a junior late model series car with HGC Motorsports.
Reaching speeds of up to 90 mph, making mom a little nervous.
"Come off turn 4 about to hit the wall she kinda gets a little crazy, it's definitely great though," Schoppe said.
But without an official car sponsor, the Schoppes would get creative.
They decided to put the Central Valley Honor flight emblem on the car after being inspired by Greg's great uncle, who flew as a pilot in World War II.
"The main reason was to give back to our veterans who have given us so much freedom. I've explained to him," Greg said.
"Freedom isn't free and it's because of them that I'm driving this great race car," Skyler added.
A car he's ready to compete in.
"Consistency is key and if you have a bad night you just gotta move on from it. You can't have that weighing you down all the time," Skyler said.
His devotion is glaring, something dad is fully behind.
"This is my passion. This is what i want to do," Skyler explained.
"If it's something he continues to be passionate about, i'm a firm believer of getting behind what you're passionate about," Greg said.
More important than checker flag finishes or cup series dreams is a level of pride that even dad can't hide.
"Of course getting into the nascar cup series is the main goal. Hopefully, I can get there," Skyler said.