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New Baltimore teen creating a buzz in the car racing world, bringing smiles to pediatric cancer patients

16-year-old Keegan Sobilo already has two championship wins under his belt
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Posted at 1:59 PM, Jul 07, 2024

NEW BALTIMORE, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Michigan teen is creating a name for himself in the world of car racing.

Keegan Sobilo, 16, is from New Baltimore and says he started racing at the age of 8.

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"How did that work out?" I asked.

"It was challenging at first, and I did not have much experience. And then, I tried to learn as much as I could," Keegan said.

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Keegan went from Junior late model to winning championships in the current category of Sportsman Late Model.

"Wait a minute, did you even have a driver's license by then?" I asked.

"No," said Keegan.

"Do you have one now?" I asked.

"I got my permit," Keegan said

"Are you even allowed to race?" I asked.

"Yes! We have a competitor license, and I am approved to go racing with certain people," Keegan said.

And by that, Keegan means adults. Keegan's dad and team owner, Roman, knew his son would eventually step into the world of racing because, as a toddler, Keegan would play with matchbox cars, only later becoming a diehard Nascar fan.

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"When he said he was interested, I did some research and tried to find the best and safest way to get him into it, and then it became a family affair," Roman said.

Keegan's grandma, Theresa (left in photo below), and mom, Hillary (right), say they are his biggest fans.

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"He is very caring, kind, sensitive, respectful, and intelligent," Theresa and Hillary said.

And there is a reason for that...

"You are also racing for a cause?" I asked.

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"Correct, I have team Negu, 'Never Ever Give Up' on the hood of my racecar, in memory of Jessie Rees who died at a young age, her family started the foundation, where they give toy jars to kids with cancer. So, just to bring light into different kids' worlds means a lot to me," said Keegan.

It's also personal; Keegan lost his maternal grandma to cancer.

"She gave one of those angels that says, 'Drive careful, grandson.' and it clips on the visor; I just zip-tied it to his roll cage in his car," Roman said.

"What do you tell him every time he steps into a vehicle?" I asked.

"My last words to him are that I love him," Roman said.

"I was told you guys don't even watch him race?" I asked.

"I don't anymore. Keegan had a terrible wreck 3 or 4 years ago. He hit a cement wall, up in the air, and landed on the top of the car; I can't watch after that," Hillary said.

"Every time you get into your car, what is that one thing that still gives you jitters?" I asked.

"I would say everything. I always say a prayer before I go racing, and I hope that it all works out. Once you start getting on the race track and the race is green, you don't think about that stuff anymore; you just think about the task at hand," Keegan said.

Meanwhile, after doing school runs for ten years, Grandma Theresa says she is ready to hang up the fiddle.

"I tell him this year, this year, I said I'm so glad this is going to be the last year I'm driving you... he did not like that. Cause He sits like a VIP in the back while I drive him in the morning," Theresa said.

"The most important question is when you will be getting your driver's license?" I asked.

"Well, I have to take my driving test this summer, so soon," Keegan said.

"You think you will pass?" I asked

"Hopefully," Keegan said.

"I mean, that would be pretty embarrassing if you fail, right?" I asked

"Yeah, it would be devastating. It would be the worst moment. I'd rather wreck that car again," Keegan said.

To learn more about team Keegan Sobilo Racing, head here.