Jefferson Hills boy garners Ford trophy
Colin Petrun received a champion's welcome on Thursday at Sturman & Larkin Ford in West Mifflin for his summer performance in the fourth annual Ford Junior Grand Prix.
Colin, 8, of Jefferson Hills placed first in the Ford event during the traditional Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in July.
Children from all over the Greater Pittsburgh region took to the Kid's Pit Stop to build miniature vehicles and put them to the test on a multi-lane, derby-style track.
Colin received a trophy and Toys R Us gift card. He said he plans to compete again next year, and didn't share his secrets for constructing a first-place car.
“We have to break the cars down after the races so nobody else could use them,” he said. “But I'm going to build another car the exact same way.”
While the Ford Junior Grand Prix is a recent addition to the Pittsburgh event, the Vintage Grand Prix has been a Petrun family tradition since Colin's father's youth.
Paul Petrun said he remembers attending with his father in the 1980s.
“I've been a participant since it started,” he said. “My dad was always into cars and racing, and I got it from him. We got into watching, racing and car shows — all aspects of it.”
Colin and his 5-year-old brother, Connor, are following in their father's and grandfather's footsteps by taking an interest in the junior event.
“When they were racing, they wouldn't stop until one of them was in first place,” their mother, Mary Rose Petrun, said.
Sturman & Larkin Ford secretary/treasurer Mike Larkin praised Colin for his enthusiasm and innovation in building the winning car.
“It's clear you have a great future in car design,” Larkin said as he handed over the trophy. “Perhaps you'll come work for Ford one day and design our next great racing vehicle.”
Sturman & Larkin Ford is one of 81 dealerships collectively known as the Neighborhood Ford Store, which sponsors the Junior Grand Prix.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.