2006 racers at a glance: Brian Carlson

2006 World of Outlaws Sprint Series Racers At A Glance: Brian Carlson Norman, OK -- Nov. 8, 2005 -- It was only a matter of time before Brian Carlson found himself racing a sprint car on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series circuit like he will do...

2006 World of Outlaws Sprint Series Racers At A Glance: Brian Carlson

Norman, OK -- Nov. 8, 2005 -- It was only a matter of time before Brian Carlson found himself racing a sprint car on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series circuit like he will do in 2006.

Born in 1966, Carlson grew up in Western Pennsylvania watching races at several different dirt tracks. He was immediately fascinated by the sprints at Lernerville Speedway and the vast number of big-time racers that competed there weekly and in special events.

Carlson began racing karts as a kid, but abandoned Western Pennsylvania in 1984 to enroll at Purdue University in Indiana, a state known for its racing. A fan of winged sprints since his youth, Carlson couldn't get used to watching wingless sprints at nearby Kokomo Speedway so he journeyed to Bloomington Speedway.

After convincing his high school sweetheart, Sarah, to leave Penn State and join him at Purdue, Carlson bought a successful Indiana kart team and go racing once again with Sarah as his crew. A few wins later, with engines he put together, Carlson hooked up with Pennsylvania racer Rod George and between to the two they won 53 events in 1989.

With so much success in karts, Carlson decided in 1992 it was time to fulfill his dream of racing a sprint car. An older chassis just fueled his passion more and soon he bought a team in Oklahoma that had a J&J Chassis, and the success began to come throughout the Midwest. In fact, in 1993 Carlson won Rookie of the Year honors at Bloomington Speedway.

After non-wing sprint racing started to overtake many Indiana speedways, Carlson decided to continue with winged sprints and joined the All Star Circuit of Champions. A limited schedule and a hard crash gave his SC Motorsports a chance to re-evaluate its goals, returning to full-time racing in 1996 by competing in more than 85 events while logging more than 50,000 miles in travel across the country.

In 1997, Carlson added World of Outlaws competition to his schedule and quickly realized the demands it would take to run with the top sprint car series in the world. His team once again hopped off the road to put together a new transporter that would hold up to the rigors of cross-country travel and have enough room for all the equipment necessary to be competitive.

That led in 2000 to joining the World of Outlaws Gumout Series, which seemed to be custom-built for Carlson and his team. He gained increased exposure for sponsors while competing against many of the rising stars in sprint car racing today. With success following his growing experience in competing against the Outlaws, Carlson began to gain more recognition and was able to continue building his team and sprint career.

After a couple of more seasons running the full Gumout schedule, the series ended in 2003 and the teams were encouraged to move up to the World of Outlaws tour. The financial demands to run nearly 100 races a year were overwhelming at the time, but Carlson was able to complete more than 80 percent of the races with several top-10 runs in addition to competing in various local events as well.

Carlson and his crew spent 2005 preparing the SC Motorsports team to complete the full tour with the Outlaws in 2006, thus fulfilling his childhood dream.

"I think that we're sort of a representative out here on the Outlaw trail for all those local teams that are struggling to make ends meet," Carlson said. "For every guy who runs his Friday or Saturday night track that may be long on talent but short on funding I think we can show them that with hard work and desire anything is possible. There are a lot of talented drivers who have other commitments, whether it's family or work, that just cannot justify sacrificing all that to go spend a year on the road. There are thousands upon thousands of fans that sit in those stands each night and just dream of what it would be like to drive a sprint car and travel the country. I think we are, in some way, living that dream for a lot of those folks. Ever since I can remember, this has always been my dream too. Now I'm able to make this dream happen and have my family there with me on the road to share the experience.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to race with the World of Outlaws full time and plan to make the very most of it."

One reason for Carlson's return to the Outlaws is because he knows the support that can come when racing with the series. Two years ago during the Outlaws race in Princeton, Minn., the series' television partner, The Outdoor Channel, featured Carlson during a broadcast and that led to increased sponsor and fan support.

"We're not a big name so we kind of depend on our fans to keep us going," Carlson said. "The fact that we're able to run the whole deal this year, it's a once in a lifetime chance. There are so many people out there who might never get this opportunity. If I didn't try to take advantage of it, and I bypassed this opportunity, I'd always regret it. I wouldn't want to go through life and say, 'Well, I wish I could have.' I don't want to be 50 years old and saying I would have or should have."

There won't be any regrets this year. Carlson's team is fully geared-up to hit the track running in February and see it through to the final checkered flag.

"Every step in life you're going to take a chance," Carlson said. "This is a big chance for us, but I also think it's a big opportunity. We would be making the wrong decision to not do it, to not try. I've got every intention of running full out every night. I'm not going to go out and just squeak through the whole series. -- We're going to run the whole series, there's no doubt about it. We've run the entire Gumout series and we've run the entire All Star series. We have not been able to do the full World of Outlaws series because I knew I couldn't do it financially in the past. We're in a whole lot better shape now than what we were two or three years ago when we ran 70 or 75 shows a couple of years ago.

"Our business has grown, the sponsor support has gotten better and the cars and the motors keep getting better."

For more information on Brian Carlson and the SC Motorsports team, go to www.carlsonmotorsports.com.

-woo-

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Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Brian Carlson