Chance Meeting Nets Sexton Gatlin Racing a More Than Quarter of a Century Sponsorship

The scene was the campground at Perris Auto Speedway during a World of Outlaws Sprint Car race over 25 years ago.  Brent Sexton, still in the first half of his twenties, was a young race car driver.  While only there to observe the action on the weekend, he did score a major win.  Camped next to him at the track were brothers Jimmy and Scotty Keys.  They quickly struck up a friendship that turned into a sponsorship that has carried on non-stop to this day.

The Simi Valley, California-based brothers are separated by 165 miles from Sexton who lives in Lakeside, California.  Now retired, the siblings were lighting technicians at NBC Universal.  Spending time traveling the country in the entertainment industry, their off-time passion was racing and they immediately saw something they liked in the young driver.  The rest is history.  They first sponsored Sexton in lightning sprints.  They expanded their sponsorship when both of Sexton’s sons joined him in lightnings.  Today, the Keys Brothers Racing logo appears on the Sexton’s lightning sprint cars and the cars they race in the USAC/CRA Series.

“We met at the World of Outlaws race at Perris and we just hit it off,” Brent Sexton reminisced.   “We hit it off when we were partying at the campground. It has been a long, great friendship.  I told them I raced lightning sprints but at that time, I do not think they knew what that was.”

“They worked in the entertainment industry and traveled all over the country working on a lot of big movies,” the talkable Sexton continued.  “They are just huge racing fans.  They have sponsored us every year.  It is not just us.  They sponsor Shane (Sexton’s nephew Shane Sexton), Rickey Lewis, and AJ Bender.  They are just big-time into it.  They go to all of the sprint car races. Sprint cars are their passion.”

Sexton mentioned a handful of drivers but the Keys Brothers logo has appeared on other driver’s cars as well.  In addition, you always hear their name over the track’s P.A. when funds have been collected for special bonus money for a race.  They never stop giving.  

“They always told us to wait until we, ‘hit the big time, we will still be helping you,’” Sexton explained.  “You hear that from a lot of people and it does not pan out with most.  But Jimmy and Scotty have stuck with us through all of these years.  Their logo is on all of our cars.  We feel so lucky to have them as sponsors but even more so as friends.  They are just great people.”

Next week, Sexton Gatlin Racing will embark on a trip to Minnesota and North Dakota to compete in the 3rd Annual POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint Car Series Summer Nationals.  Keys Brothers logos will be on the cars there.  When that race is over, they will high tail it back to Southern California for a USAC/CRA race at Perris, and Keys Brothers logos will be on those cars as well.  In fact, Keys Brothers will be a part of every race SGR competes in for years to come.