Published: March 2, 2021
By: Kathleen Peppo, LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE — Speaker Clay Schexnayder went from winning races in cars to winning races against career politicians, and the leading Republican legislator in the House was the last person who predicted that sharp curve in his road.
“When I first got elected in 2012, I was the first mechanic and first race car driver to be elected to the House of Representatives,” said Schexnayder, R-Gonzales. “The speaker position didn’t come overnight. It took eight years to get here. It wasn’t something that we set out to do.”
In stark contrast to the many lawyers in the Legislature, Schexnayder trained as a mechanic and has owned and operated Car Craft and Rubber Company Automotive in Sorrento in Ascension Parish since 1998.
The 51-year-old representative graduated from French Settlement High School in 1989 and moved on to study automotive training and computerization at the Allen Institute in Atlanta, where he was certified in Automotive Service Excellence.
‘It was a ride’
Schexnayder got into car racing in 1997, and his last race was in 2013, a year after he was elected to the House.
“I still have the racing bug,” he said in an interview. “Anytime I can go and sit down and watch a race or go to a race I’m there. I’m not a very good race fan because I like to participate, but yeah, I still love it.”
He reminisced about those days, even describing the first accident he was involved in during a race in Pike County, Mississippi.
“I was racing in a big race with a lot of people from all over the country that came to race,” he said. It was only the third or fourth race he had started in a type of car designed for dirt oval tracks. He participated in the Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas competition circuit, and in this race, “I was actually doing really well,” he said.
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