NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This is the second year of dirt track racing for Bandon Hightower. Last weekend, on the Texas Motor Speedway .4 Mile dirt track, Hightower started his first year in the SUP-A late model division. It was a weekend of firsts for the young driver in a career almost defined by them.

Last Friday night the teenager raced his new #52 car for the first time. It was also the first time the young man ran on the TMS track, the biggest oval of his dirt-racing career.

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For Hightower, it’s the first race of a planned 26-race season. “Last year was really a learning year. This year hopefully will be a ‘get up there and try to win some’ [year],” Hightower told CBS 11 News during a special practice run.

Brandon took home Rookie of the Year in his first season. But there were some other “firsts” that have already made his name known throughout the dirt-track racing world.

That phenomenal first race of his first season was the first time Hightower ever competed. In fact, it was the first time he ever sat in a racecar, on a dirt track. He started in 9th place, at the back of the pack and finished 5th.

Brandon’s father, Kevin Hightower, an ex-NASCAR engine builder remembered his son’s experience. “He had never even sat in a racecar… running or moving. That’s when I realized he was going to be something special.”

Even before hitting the track for the first time, Hightower was having an exceptional day. That night on the dirt racetrack, near his hometown in Louisiana, Brandon Hightower turned 14 years old.

Oh, did you think he was competing with his peers? Even though Brandon Hightower can race men twice his age on the dirt, legally he isn’t old enough to drive on the road.

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Hightower had his first race, in his new car, in this division. He held his own against some of the best dirt racers in the country and missed qualifying by one spot.

Kevin Hightower thinks this is the start of big things for his son. “I think he’ll be driving on the super speedways. I just feel like he has goals and he’s passionate about it and I think he’ll get there.”

Hightower is a junior high school kid racing with men to be number one. A run that will continue as long as his dad says he doesn’t forget what’s at the top of his priority list. “Education is number one.  He has to have his school work done.”

So for now Brandon Hightower spends weekdays in the classroom to earn weekends on the tracks.  Just another teenager learning to drive!

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