Mitchell deJong's life of racing gallery
Mitchell deJong just turned 16 and doesn't have a driver's license, but he's been tearing it up in off-road racing and won a silver medal this year at X Games Los Angeles in the RallyCross Lites. Browse through our photo gallery for a look at deJong's budding racing career.
Growing Into It
Shelley deJong says her son Mitchell took every opportunity to climb into their sand car and pretend he was driving. At 1 1/2 he already knew exactly what to do with the pedal and steering wheel, she says, adding "he just needed to grow some legs."
On Mitchell deJong's first day at go-kart school in 2003, they didn't even have a racing suit small enough to fit the 5-year-old.
DeJong's mother, Shelley, says Mitchell always liked to work on his vehicles at the shop with his dad, a mechanical engineer who builds special ops vehicles for the U.S. Border Patrol.
Mitchell and his mother, Shelley deJong, celebrate his modified off-road kart championship in 2011.
DeJong won the Lake Elsinore MX park short course series in his truck in 2008.
Dejong, then 14, was two years short of the age limit to race the pro classes of short-course off road, but an exception was made in 2012 because of his experience and success.
DeJong was 14 when he won the 2012 TORC pro buggy championship and became the youngest racer not only to win a pro championship, but to win one in his rookie year.
X Games Debut
DeJong tries get past Sebastian Eriksson, right, on the inside of a hairpin turn at X Games Los Angeles this summer. "When I first saw RallyCross debut at X Games I knew right away I wanted to do that," deJong says. "I just never thought it would be a reality."
Two Second-Place Finishes
Mitchell deJong finished second at the GRC Lites stop last month in Atlanta and at X Games Los Angeles.
GRC Lites Atlanta Podium
Mitchell deJong reached the podium in the most recent GRC Lites round at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He finished second behind Joni Wiman, center, and ahead of Sebastian Eriksson, right.