Anyone who’s driven in or watched a competition kart race at PGP Motorsports Park has gotten the chance to see Mr. Excitement behind the wheel of his stock Honda shifter.
Sixteen-year-old Brandon Scheiber of Maple Valley, Wash., may have that nickname written on his helmet, but don’t expect to see any teenage fireworks from him if he has a bad race. Off the track, the Tahoma High School sophomore displays a mature, wise-beyond-his-years attitude — in no small part because of the way his single-parent father raised him.
“One of the things that was important to me when I grew up, and that I stressed with Brandon, is when there is failure you express your disappointment at home or behind the scenes,” said Michael Scheiber. “If he’s going to advance in racing, sports or life, Brandon needs to keep a positive outlook. That’s important.”
Michael Scheiber also encourages his son to explore life and to not be afraid of challenging himself, and Brandon has responded favorably. In addition to racing, Brandon wrestles and plays football for Tahoma High, and he is thinking of trying out for track and field.
Brandon a 3.4 grade-point average and is also studying manufacturing at Green River Community College, despite struggling with reading because of dyslexia. Brandon balked at going to special classes and instead has dealt with the problem himself by being, as his father said: “Stubbornly focused and concentrating.”
Before getting into karts at the age of 11, Brandon raced motocross for several years before a bad accident that resulted in a trip to the hospital. After several months away from motocross he got back on his bike at the same track and was promptly run into by another rider at about the same spot.
That got him thinking about trying a different, perhaps safer, type of racing, and his father suggested karting at an indoor track. Brandon was hooked.
“It just came to me, it happened really quick,” said Brandon. “I got my license and started going to as many indoor places as possible. I thought: ‘This is the most fun thing I’ve ever done.’ I wanted to go all in.”
With his father’s support and backing, Brandon has raced throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as Utah, Nevada and the Midwest. He did some full track road-course racing in his kart and last year tried racing on a dirt oval.
Although he called dirt-track karting “... bumpy — very bumpy, and fast, but a different experience,” Brandon picked up his nickname as a result of his second trip to Spanaway Speedway in Tacoma.
“The first race I went to there I finished second-to-last, but it was fun so we went back and that time I went from the back to second place,” said Brandon. “The announcer from Spanaway remembered me driving through the field, and when he saw me at PGP for an I-5 Series race he said, ‘Hey, it’s Mr. Excitement.’”
Brandon’s connection to PGP goes back to the very beginning of the facility, when it was in the design phase. Thinking “it would be cool” to race outdoors, once construction began Brandon visited the work site “every other day just to see what had been done.” Later he volunteered to help out with rock removal, and putting in fence posts and track edge dirt.
Racing outside in the open air is as much fun as he thought would be and Brandon has missed just a couple kart events at PGP since the venue opened in June 2009. He likes the track surface — “the smoothest around” — as well as spending time with his friends and other racers in PGP’s paddock.
The most challenging thing about racing at PGP in Brandon’s opinion is also one of the highlights of the track, making it perfect for all skill levels.
“I’ve found that the toughest thing about PGP is that there are so many lines around the track that I haven’t found the perfect line yet,” he said, before summing PGP up this way: “It’s a smooth track with multiple lines and you can pass anywhere. That says it all.”
Brandon likes working with his hands — his favorite class in school is Woodshop; it reminds him of working in the shop in his grandfather’s garage — and he is re-building a 1975 BMW with hopes of road racing it or taking part in PGP’s Lap Attack series after he gets his driver’s license.
Right now he isn’t sure what the future will hold — racing, maybe football or some other sport, perhaps a career in some other field — but Mr. Excitement knows when the time comes, whatever he chooses, he will give it his all.
With a smile on his face no matter what.