ANCEL Bidirectional Automotive Scanner

Sandwich Artist to 200 MPH Man: Caleb Costner’s Improbable Journey to the ARCA Menards Series

While Caleb Costner is a race car driver at heart, that’s not his only job. When he sat inside the Team Penske shop for our virtual interview, he wasn’t there to discuss strategy. 

“At the start of the year, we took over Penske’s cleaning contract,” he explained, giving us a look around the video room, including the vending machine that would become an inside joke later in the interview. “This is the video conference room where they break down footage, it’s a pretty cool spot.”

While his life has taken him to the national spotlight, Costner’s story differs from most drivers coming up through the ranks today. 

“I started racing when I was a kid, but not when I was 4,” Costner says. “I started when I was 12 years old. I had been begging my parents to consider racing. We had a neighbor move in named Tyler Lester. A lot of guys my age that are racing are familiar with him. He was a great racer and got me into it. I saw he had a Legends car for sale across the road. That started the questioning to my parents of, ‘I want to get involved, how can we do this?’ We bought my first couple of cars from Tyler and only ran about 3 races before we found out how expensive racing is. My parents are hard-working, blue-collar people. One works at Freightliner and the other at an industrial plant, and we decided that we just couldn’t do it. I was 15 years old at that point, and I got a job permit. My first job was at Subway, of all places. I was a sandwich artist.”

The road from sandwich artist to professional racecar driver was one filled with many twists and turns, but mainly financial issues. The lack of funds didn’t deter Costner’s dream, however. It seemed only to strengthen it. 

“From that point forward, I was determined to make money and buy a race car. And sure enough, I did it. I bought a Mustang. I took it up to East Lincoln Speedway, which was my home track at the time. I ran a few seasons up there until I was 18 years old. That was the age when I realized that this was not going to be a career for me.”

With full-time racing dreams suddenly dashed again, Costner became a first responder and put his racing career on the back burner for nearly a decade, until he met up with an old friend. 

“I got an opportunity to run a Legend car at Hickory Motor Speedway, in a one-off. It was actually for my buddy Tyler Lester, and from that moment, I was hooked again. I said, ‘Gosh, I miss this. I can’t believe I haven’t done this in years.’ I got back into it and enjoyed it for about a year. Up to that point, I had never had a sponsor. One of my best friends (Craig) who works at a pipe fitting company talked to his boss and asked if he’d be interested in helping me out. He invested in me pretty well. That gave me the confidence to say, okay, let’s go get another sponsor, and another one. And I went from just running dirt cars to getting to know more people in the (NASCAR) industry, and a friend of mine who used to run the Winston West Series gave me some opportunities that led to me eventually running my first ARCA race in 2021.”

While it may seem monotonous in today’s world, the old adage of never giving up rings true for Costner. 

“I’ve just worked so hard and never given up. Not giving up is the biggest thing, man. There’s so many times you say that it isn’t worth it. I’m done. I faced that a couple times, but I kept saying ‘I’m so close, I’m so close.’ That ultimately led to the partnership I have with Aaron Weaver and running the full 2024 ARCA season.”

Costner says he and his race team keep their expectations realistic, but optimistic at the same time. 

“We try to be as real as we can as a team. We’ve added some sponsors and put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the team this offseason. We took a lot of necessary steps to improve. Realistically, we’re shooting for top tens every weekend. A great day for us is a top 5 at a Daytona or Talladega, and those are races where we expect to be competing for wins.”

“My goal is to be going for wins.”

 Costner likely never imagined saying that while working at Subway as a teen, nor after his driving dreams were crushed multiple times. Despite some hardships, the never-give-up mentality of Costner and his race team has given the #93 team a shot in one of the premier motorsports leagues in America. 

It’s up to them to take charge and capitalize on their biggest opportunity yet.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Samuel Stubbs
Samuel Stubbs
Hailing from the same neck of the woods as NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin, Samuel is the co-host of The Below The Yellow Line Podcast, which can be found on YouTube @BelowTheYellowLine. Guests such as Mario Andretti, Larry McReynolds, 23XI Racing President Steve Lauletta, Legacy Motor Club Executive Joseph Cohen, and SMI Chief Operating Officer Mike Burch have been interviewed on his show. Samuel is new to the team at Speedway Media, and hopes to pursue a degree & career in broadcast journalism.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

Winspirit Australia

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles