Michael Clyde Whelden Jr. was born October 20, 1988 to Michael Clyde Whelden and Jane Marie Harnois Whelden in Greenbrae, CA. Michael was introduced to racing at a very young age being taken to 1992 NASCAR race at the famous Sears Point Raceway. Ever since his first taste of racing, there was nothing else that could satisfy the desire to be a racing driver.
Michael got his first kart at age ten. Michael tested and developed in his EMMICK kart for two years before tragedy struck the Whelden family with the passing of his father Michael senior in 2002. After his father’s passing the kart was sold and Whelden attended a boarding school in the Monterey Peninsula. Then came a break and opportunity for Michael to return to racing with the Jim Russell Racing School at Sears Point Raceway.
In 2006 Michael attended and graduated from the Jim Russell Racing School. The following year, 2007, he competed in the SCCA Jim Russell Formula Russell Championship presented by Yokohama. Michael competed in 6 races that spring and summer. He took two poles, and six podiums. Out of the six podiums he collected three thirds, two seconds, and one win. Whelden learned a lot in the series and posted some incredible results. However Whelden would have to put his racing career on hold agian as this time he attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in business administration Whelden finally found a new opportunity to return to racing. In 2012 he joined forces with World Speed Motorsports to race their new formula car the FormulaSPEED2.0. He competed in NASA’s Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear, which is a Mazda powered open wheel series featuring three different classes of cars. Whelden had an exciting and learning experience in his first year winning all poles and taking all race victories on his way to 2012 West coast regional championship and the 2012 FormulaSPEED2.0 Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear National Championship.
Whelden then competed in the Pro Formula Mazda classes in 2013, and won the Pro Formula Mazda Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear National Championship. On his way to another national title, he took 9 poles and 10 victories in 12 races. The National Championship made Whelden eligible for Mazda’s MX-5 Cup Shootout, which is a competition for a $75,000 scholarship to run in the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup series. After a review of Whelden’s business proposal and an on-track showdown, Whelden came out runner-up. To finish 2013, Whelden competed in the famed 25 Hours of Thunderhill is the E1 class with N1 Racing and Lexus USA. Brake problems plagued the 2014 Lexus IS250, but Whelden showed great pace in the first hour driving from 8th in class to 4th.
I returned to defend my Pro Formula Mazda national championship title in 2014 at the NASA Western States Championships. It was a three race with two qualifying races and a championship race. Points across all three races would constitute the national title in the Formula Car Challenge. I qualified second for the first race, and got a great start only to give up the lead a lap after a restart. I continued to hound my competition all the way to the final lap making a move in the final corner to secure a dramatic win and pole for race two. Race two turned out harder than expected with gearbox problems holding me to second. But the final race for the championship went great with a pass on the restart resulting in a second victory on the weekend and sealing the 2014 Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear Pro Formula Mazda National Championship. At the young age of 26, two regional junior open wheel championships and three national junior open wheel championships under his belt, Whelden’s professional racing career has only just begun.