By Nick Graziano on December 14, 2023

Conner Wade Following Great-Grandfather’s 'Outlaw' Path With New Pit Reporter Role

Conner Wade may be 19 years old, but his history with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series goes back to 1978.

Wade is the great-grandson of Chuck Amati, one of the “Original Outlaws” that competed in the first World of Outlaws race at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in ’78. And now, the teenager is taking his own turn as an Outlaw, becoming DIRTVision’s World of Outlaws Sprint Car Pit Reporter in 2024.

“It’s a huge, huge honor to be able to cover the World of Outlaws,” Wade said. “I’ve been a fan of the World of Outlaws, a diehard fan, since I was seven or eight years old. Whenever I was a kid, I would get up every Saturday and Sunday morning, before races were streamed, and I was too young to be on social media, too young to have Facebook or Twitter, so I would run to the computer every Saturday and Sunday morning, get on to see who won the night before, keep track of points and stuff like that.”

Wade only got to spend a short amount of time with his great-grandfather, but his father, Shane Wade, helped continue Amati’s path by racing and owning cars himself. Shane won the inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series championship in 2022 with Shane Cockrum driving for him.

Now, Conner is taking his own path, which, arguably, started at birth but took shape when he was about 4 years old. At home, hosting races with his diecast cars, Wade knew something was missing. His races needed an announcer. So, lap after lap, he called the action, unaware his parents were recording him do so.

They uploaded the videos to YouTube, and eventually garnered enough attention that Wade was asked to help get video content at the 2015 Chili Bowl when he was 11 years old – an opportunity that kicked started his career.

“So, I went to Chili Bowl, probably my first Chili Bowl in 2015, and just did some random interviews with I think, (Kyle) Larson, (Christopher) Bell, Kevin Swindell and Bryan Clauson and we just put those out on Facebook and they got their reviews and shares,” Wade said. “After that, the right people from Southern Illinois Raceway saw them and was like, ‘Hey, we should hire this 11-year-old kid to be our announcer.’ So, that’s kind of how that got started.”

Wade announced every division at Southern Illinois Raceway (SIR) for five years, including the track’s biggest events like the Highbanks Hustle and Terry Sprague Memorial.

“Doing SIR weekly for five years, specifically those two (marquee) events that they had, that would be live streamed, got a lot of viewers and attention from really the entire industry,” Wade said. “Those two races are what kind of got my name out there at little bit and kind of started introducing me to more viewers.”

From there, Wade continued to climb the ladder year after year. He worked as a pit reporter with POWRi and the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series before finding his way to DIRTVision this year where he helped pit report for the DIRTcar Summer Nationals, some Super DIRTcar Series events – including Super DIRT Week – and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota. He also worked in the DIRTVision studio during World of Outlaws World Finals.

He’ll take his next step with DIRTVision in 2024, becoming the full-time pit reporter for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, working hand-in-hand with World of Outlaws announcer Johnny Gibson each race night.

“Conner has impressed me with his work with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series and with this studio work during World Finals,” Gibson said. “He’s knowledgeable, professional, and one of the future stars in this industry. I look forward to working with him and continuing the tradition of providing excellent coverage of The Greatest Show on Dirt to our fans in the stands and on DIRTVision.”

For Wade, it’s a dream opportunity to work with the voice he’s listened to on DIRTVision since he was young and a chance to add another chapter in his family’s legacy with the Outlaws.

“I specifically remember the first World of Outlaws race I ever watched on DIRTVision,” Wade said. “I don’t know if it is weird that I remember that or not… But I just thought it was the coolest thing ever that I could watch the World of Outlaws live from home. I never would have dreamed that 13 years later, I’d be working for the same streaming service, covering that same series. It’s really really cool and covering the top Sprint Car series in the country is a huge responsibility, something I honestly already feel, and we haven’t even started the season yet. Something I’m really, really looking forward to. The race fan inside of me is really, really excited as well.”

The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series kicks off its 2024 schedule at Volusia Speedway Park during the 53rd annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 7-10). If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every lap live on DIRTVision.

Published by Nick Graziano December 14, 2023