Ethan Souza, an Acushnet native, is racing at Seekonk Speedway for the summer with a pretty great back story as to how he got on the track.

Souza is about to embark on his second season of racing at the Route 6 track, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Fred Astle, a local legend who has raced for 40 years.

Souza, 25, said he knew he wanted to get behind the wheel at a young age. He first got behind the wheel when he was 10 at Seekonk Youth Racing Association's mini-cup division.

Souza's full-time job is as a graphic designer at Fairhaven-based Brahmin Leather Works.

While his first full season, his rookie season, was just last year, with the help of his accomplished uncle, he hopes to compete for the championship this year. Souza has stayed involved in the sport by working with his uncle.

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I'm thinking he got paid with priceless knowledge and experience.

"Growing up watching Fred race really started it all," Souza said of his passion. "I always just thought it was so cool. The sound of the cars, the speed. [I] just loved it from the beginning."

Astle has had a front-row seat to his nephew's early journey in racing. He was at Seekonk Speedway last year to cheer on Souza and to pose with him for the photo above. Souza also was joined by aunt Julie Souza and fiancee Kyleigh Gonet.

Opening day at the speedway is May 1. A weekly race in the Pure Stock Division featuring Souza is scheduled for just about every Friday through October.

Souza credits his uncle with his success so far, noting he "couldn't have done this" without his support.

What I think is so neat about this is that local sponsors will be featured on Souza's race car for the season, giving exposure to local businesses before crowds of 1,000 people.

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