It is no secret that when a new driver enters a new division at a track, his fellow competitors don’t make it easy for him.

It was a tough out there,” 2012 Barrie Speedway Thunder Car Rookie of the Year Travis Hallyburton said at the Canadian Motorsports Expo. “As a rookie, coming up through the ranks, people don’t like letting you pass them.  They’re like ‘oh, here’s the new guy’ so you got to work hard.”

In working hard, he says that you got to keep learning as you go and that “every night you learn something” if you want to run with the top drivers of the division.

“They got so many years under their belt,” he noted. “They know what it takes to win.”

Hallyburton kept working at it each week, improving as the year went on.

“In the middle of the season, we sat down and figured it out,” he said. “You got to put time into the car if you want to be successful.”

As a result, the second half of the season saw Hallyburton rack up some solid finishes and finish the season a solid fourth in points.

Hallyburton started out racing snowmobiles before making the transition over to stock car racing.

“I had a bad accident back in 2008 that had made me unable to race snowmobiles again,” he said. “So my brother had got into stock cars and the parents said, ‘Hey, the boys are going race’. My brother has been a huge help in being able to do it.”

Hallyburton notes that his heart still belongs to the sleds…

“I love racing them,” he said. “The sleds are more physical while stock car racing is in your head. But I am happy where I am now.

Hallyburton began racing in the Pure Stock division and had success there, before tackling the Thunder Car division in 2012. Hallyburton will return in 2013, looking for the track championship, but has one thing that fans should know first…..

“I’m actually a really nice guy,” he said. “I’m not as mean as they say I am out on track. They call me the ‘Enforcer’. I am definitely hot-headed but you got to be tough as a rookie.”