13-year-old struck up a friendship with Dan Wheldon

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GREENFIELD — Two years into his racing career, Zach Holden won his first go-kart championship at New Castle Motorsports Park. Two years later, he struck up a friendship with the late Dan Wheldon.

As 2013 winds down, Holden’s father, Paul, estimates that after a successful season his son has more championships (14-16) than years on Earth (13).

Zach, a Greenfield native, is working toward a professional racing career. If he keeps winning, he just may get there.

The younger Holden races for Top Kart USA, a go-kart organization that has an outfit based in Indianapolis and covers Zach’s tournament entry fees, tires and other expenses. Comet Kart Sales, a go-kart supplier in Greenfield run by local racing legend Mark Dismore and his family, works on Holden’s engines and supports his team.

Paul used to race Legend Cars — something Zach does when he’s not racing go-karts — and would work on his vehicles between races. Zach came around to help Paul tinker with the cars and wanted to see all of his dad’s excursions on the track.

At age five, Zach began racing go-karts at NCMS.

“When I first started, it was really hard,” said Zach, a student at Greenfield-Central Junior High School. “It was very difficult. I went out at the tracks for many years before I finally got it.”

In 2007, seven-year old Zach acquired his first title, a class championship in kid karts.

Two years later, Zach was racing in Daytona, Fla., when he happened to walk under the same tent as Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion.

At the time, Zach was sporting a mohawk — the same hairdo as Wheldon’s son, Sebastian. Wheldon, who began racing go-karts in his native England when he was four, approached Zach and told him his hair was “cool,” Zach recalled.

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