2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Brian Carlson Concord, NC -- Jan. 24, 2007 -- Brian Carlson has been busy since the second the checkered flag dropped on the 2006 World of Outlaws season on October 28 in Las Vegas. After returning home to...
2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Brian Carlson
Concord, NC -- Jan. 24, 2007 -- Brian Carlson has been busy since the second the checkered flag dropped on the 2006 World of Outlaws season on October 28 in Las Vegas.
After returning home to Linden, Indiana, he quickly began getting ready for the 2007 season, along with operating his very successful kart engine building business. With being on the road for the better part of ninth months last year, he had plenty of work waiting for him at his shop when he arrived home.
The last three months have gone by pretty fast for Carlson and his family. With the holiday's sprinkled in, they were able to visit with family and friends that they normally do not get a chance to see very often during the course of the season.
"It seems like we just finished racing, but everything is progressing very well," said Carlson. "The kart engine stuff has to come first. I have to take care of my loyal customers that have been with me for years, and keep those people happy. Then we always have something to come back home to. I hate to put the race car on a back burner, but you have to take care of business first."
Carlson ran the full World of Outlaws schedule for the first time in his career last season, finishing 15th in points. Along the way, he visited many tracks for the first time, and made many new friends as well. A couple of the highlights were his first visit to the always scenic Pacific Northwest as the series rolled into Skagit (Wash.) Speedway and Southern Oregon Speedway. He also made his first trip to California to compete in the Harvest Classic at Calistoga Speedway, as well as the famed Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway.
Another of the places that he also was able to race at last season was Lernerville Speedway in Western Pennsylvania where he grew up. He vividly remembers sitting countless nights in the grandstands watching the sprint cars compete, marveling at the skill of the drivers, and dreaming of one day doing that himself. He saw many World of Outlaws events at the track, and even took his wife Sarah there on the couple's first date.
This season, he will be returning to many tracks for the second and third time, and that will help immensely with determining how to set up the car for a particular night of racing. Over the course of last season and throughout his career, Carlson has kept meticulous notes each time he visits a track and those notes come in handy when he returns to tracks or visits one for the first time that is similar to ones he has competed at before.
"It sure will help having notes from tracks we visited for the first time last year," explained Carlson. "I think you'll see a lot of teams doing a lot better due to that fact. Even though the competition will be very tough this year, the teams that were new last year will be even stronger this year."
With nearly 90 races on the schedule this year, Carlson knows the demands it will place on him both physically and mentally. While he is thrilled to race as often as he can, he also must put on his car owner's hat and think of everything from a business standpoint as well.
"As a driver it is great to race more," said Carlson. "On the other hand as a car owner it digs deeper into your pocketbook. That's what were working hard on, is securing sponsors or a partnership with somebody that could come on board and help us out."
One of the most fulfilling things for Carlson last season was embarking on the full schedule of races with his wife Sarah, who served as his crew chief, along with his sons A.J. and Seth. The boys often could be found helping out with the daily tasks associated with keeping a sprint car maintained.
Thanks to some breaks built into the schedule for travel, the Carlson's were able to take in many sights along the way as they journeyed from coast-to-coast a couple of times. They were able to enjoy many family moments during the season, but Brian is quick to point out that the main reason they were on the road was to race. He holds that same mantra this season.
"The game plan is to have Sarah as crew chief again and the kids helping as well," he said. "I would not do it without them."
Carlson has a number of days circled on his calendar this season, including April 21 and June 5. Those are the dates for two events at ¼-mile bullrings in his home state. Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway is just a short drive northeast from his home in Linden, as the series will contest a mid-week 40-lapper at the track in June, while a trip south to Tri-State (Ind.) Speedway also is in store in April.
After completing a lifelong dream last season, beginning in Barberville, Florida in February and wrapping up in Las Vegas in October, by racing the entire schedule, Carlson will take this season day by day, beginning with the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop at Volusia Speedway Park on February 9.
"I'm not really looking at goals this year," said Carlson. "Our goal last year was to run this thing, and be able to do it full-time and we pretty much did that. Like any other racer, we're going to have to race within our means."