(1987 - )
In 1997 at the age of 10, Jon Denning began his racing career with go Karts. He racked up several wins locally before moving onto the WKA national level winning the 1999 International Championships at Charlotte Motor Speedway as well as the North American championship that same year. In 2000 at age 13, Denning moved up to 750cc and 1200cc minisprints.
Denning had several top five finishes and won the 2000 "Rookie of the Year" award at Whipcity Speedway in Westfield Mass. In 2001 at age 14, he moved into NASCAR style late model stock cars and competed on a limited schedule throughout the South East. Denning's focus, determination and racing skills earned him several top finishes and respect from competitors. For the 2006 season, he teamed up with NASCAR'S National Champion crew chief H.C.Sellers III and Sellers Racing, Danville, Virginia. Denning competed at South Boston Speedway, Ace Speedway as well as other tracks in the South East.
Denning started 15 races in 2007 and finished in the top three five times and in the top 10 seven times. Overall, Denning has won seven races in his NASCAR career.
In January 2008, Denning visited Israel for the first time as part of a Birthright Israel trip. Denning grew up in a Jewish household, attending a conservative synagogue, in Springfield, New Jersey. He said of his experiences in Israel that he has acquired a new sense of pride in learning more about Israel and Jewish history that he hopes to bring with him to the next racing season.
Highlights of the trip for Denning were pitching tents in the Negev Desert, exploring the Galilee, and climbing the fortress at Masada. "After spending time with soldiers and talking with people on the street, to be honest I'm jealous of how much respect they have for where they come from," Denning said. "They have inspired me to stay strong to my Jewish roots."
Denning has often spoken up about racism and bigotry in the racing world. He speaks openly about soldiering through anti-Semitic barbs, calls to accept Jesus, and even what he describes as discrimination within the NASCAR organization.
Sources: Jondenning.com; Kraft, Dina. "Birthright pit stop inspires car racer." JTA (January 15, 2008)