Published On: Sat, Apr 6th, 2013

Getting Up To Speed With Austin McTaggart

Getting Up To Speed With…Austin McTaggart

By Ben Deatherage

Cottage Grove Speedway is known for its history and a perfect example of that is Austin McTaggart. While his last name may not be Cooper he is indeed a part of the “Cooper Clan”. Austin is a multi-generation driver of “The Grove” and is a former champion in the Micro Sprints. A 2012 graduate of Creswell High School, he now is a resident of Eugene, Oregon but his shop is still in Creswell, where the team is based.

Driver: Austin McTaggart

Home Track: Cottage Grove Speedway

Hometown: Eugene, Oregon (Creswell, OR)

Occupation: Production Worker

Age: 18

Years Racing: 4


Classification: IMCA Modified

Car: 16

Chassis: Dirt Works Race Cars

Sponsors: Eco-Machine Technologies, T.L. Morgan Motors, Eastside Rollforming Specialties, R&D Specialties, West End Performance, Junction City Muffler Shop, Jimmy Lane Deli, Jim Robinson Carbs, The Wright, Team S.D.M.F.

Special Thanks: Ryan McTaggart (Dad), Cory Russell (Cousin), Kenneth Miller (Cousin), Ron Cooper (Cousin), Gus Cooper (Cousin), Russ Cooper (Uncle)

#16 Austin McTaggart Photo: Cottage Grove Speedway

#16 Austin McTaggart
Photo: Cottage Grove Speedway

BD: Well Austin with 2012 complete and 2013 on the horizon what are you looking forward to the most?

AM: I’m looking forward to running my new car. I got a new Dirt Works chassis and a brand new motor. I’m excited to see how well I do against the faster guys. A lot of my family is going to be running this year so that will be cool. My dad plans on running my cousin Cory Russell will be coming out too and of course my cousin Gus will be back.

BD: How did you think last season went for you?

AM: It was my first year. It went okay. The first couple of races I think like any rookie I struggled. Once I got some time under my belt I was smoother and it became more natural to me. Towards the end of the year I was keeping up with the some of the fast guys so that made me feel really good.

BD: With a bit of a background in Micro Sprints did you feel that helped you at all?

AM: The seat time in a Micro helped me get the feel of a race car and how to drive them. But it’s a huge difference between my Modified and my Micro. The main differences are the speed and reaction time. In a Modified you can’t fall asleep because if you do you’ll get passed by a bunch of cars and you have very little time to react and avoid being caught up in a crash.

BD: Your dad Ryan was known as “Flyin’ Ryan” as well as “Big Bird”. Has a nickname came about for you already?

AM: We joked around with a couple of names last year. My dad and my cousin Ron (Cooper) came up with one at the start of last year. They kept calling me “The Postman” because they say I deliver the package. But nothing really officially I haven’t heard anything that has stuck with me but maybe in the future.

BD: Your family has a rich history with the Cottage Grove Speedway. Am I correct saying that you’re a third generation driver?

AM: Sort of. I’m a third generation on the McTaggart’s side but on the Cooper side I’m actually a fourth generation driver. Some people may not know this but my Grandma Jan raced too as well as my Grandpa Jack McTaggart.

BD: What would you like to see yourself driving in the future? Sprint Car or a Late Model?

AM: If I were to move up I would move into a Late Model just because it’s still a Stock Car. I’ve always liked the Stock Cars because that’s pretty much what most of my family has raced in.

UPDATE: The Test and Tune practice scheduled for April 6 has been cancelled due to weather.

The Cottage Grove Speedway will host a Test and Tune practice on Saturday April 6th while the racing season will open up on the 13th. The venue has over thirty events on the schedule featuring 360 Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, NW Extreme Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models, Street Stocks, and Hornets as regular classes. To keep up to speed with the Cottage Grove Speedway log on to for the latest news and stories.

Comments? Leave comments at the bottom of the page. Lane Today also accepts letters to the editor for publication in our Sound Off section. Please send them to for consideration.

Share your comments below