Tyler with his father, Bob,...
Tyler with his father, Bob, who still races nonwinged Sprint Cars in California.
"A lot of guys can go run a local place and win every week. That can be fun," Walker continues, "but I want to make a pretty good career out of this. Everybody has slumps. The thing is to learn how to deal with them. That is the most difficult part for me."
The trials and tribulations of being on the road can play with your mind, and Walker knows that firsthand.
"This sport will play with your head," Walker warns with a smile. "But I've learned to grow up. I don't have any of my family with me, and you have to learn to work with people, because you are with your crew 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes you want to kill each other, and sometimes you are best friends. That can be difficult at times; you have to take a few deep breaths and get a hold of yourself."
After a full season of learning on the road with the Outlaws, it was almost fitting that Walker's first victory on the ultracompetitive series came at Manzanita during the 31st annual Western World Championship. Walker knew the significance of the triumph.
The fans and competition may...
The fans and competition may get used to Walker in Victory Lane before too long.
"You look at all the names of the drivers who have won this race," Walker says. "Guys like Steve Kinser and Ron Shuman. I'm glad to be able to join them on that list."
Walker was the first rookie to sweep a double-header feature in World of Outlaws competition and led all 30 laps of the Western World finale.
"This is unbelievable," Walker said following his traditional back flip in Victory Lane at the Western World. "I have a great car and a great team and a great family. We get to go home this week, and I'll sleep good. I won't be dreaming of winning my first World of Outlaws race. I did it."
While he did not win the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year title, Walker was awarded the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Wild Card award for exciting Sprint Car performances. Thus he became the first driver to win the Hall of Fame's Rookie of the Year award and Wild Card award in back-to-back seasons.
Walker takes a break in Las...
Walker takes a break in Las Vegas.
Walker's drive to victory at Manzanita in late February was another example of his aggressive style of driving as he wedged his #35 between the lapped cars of Joe Gaerte and Terry McCarl in a dazzling three-wide move to hold off Mark Kinser for the victory. Walker explained his move.
"Sometimes the lapped cars just fall your way, and we made them fall our way tonight," Walker said.
After a tough first week to the season, the victory helped Walker and his team gain momentum for the more than 60 events that remained on the World of Outlaws schedule. Walker made it clear his sophomore season was off to a better start than his freshman campaign.
"This is the momentum-builder we need," Walker explains. "We started off the year pretty rough, but compared to last year when we trashed a car on the first night and missed the feature the second night, we're way ahead. I can't wait to get out on the road."
Walker has already served notice that he belongs with the World of Outlaws. And while a championship may still be something Walker can dream about in his sleep, World of Outlaws victories are quickly becoming a way of life.
One step, two steps, and up and over.