Carter Ready for Chili Bowl Midget Nationals Tulsa, OK--Jan. 9, 2007 -- Most Chief Financial Officers spend an off day on the course playing a round of golf, or relaxing at the lake or country club, but not DIRT MotorSports CFO Brian Carter....
Carter Ready for Chili Bowl Midget Nationals
Tulsa, OK--Jan. 9, 2007 -- Most Chief Financial Officers spend an off day on the course playing a round of golf, or relaxing at the lake or country club, but not DIRT MotorSports CFO Brian Carter. For the native of Frisco, Texas, racing is not only his profession, but also his hobby and passion, as he himself climbs behind the wheel of a sprint car whenever time permits.
Carter will embark on a new challenge this week, and turn his first ever laps in a midget starting tonight at the famed Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With an event record of nearly 280 cars competing, a Pre-Qualifying night was added for the first time ever to open up the 21st Annual Chili Bowl.
Tonight, 79 drivers including Carter will compete in a full racing program capped by a 25-lap feature, to earn 15 spots in the following three Qualifying nights. Drivers designated to compete on Tuesday night in the Pre-Qualifier are drives that have never competed in the Chili Bowl, drivers with limited experience at the Chili Bowl, as well as drivers that are new to racing in general.
The drivers will have two sets of hot laps on Tuesday afternoon to get up to speed before taking to the track for competition. Carter, who purchased a car this winter for the event, is anxiously awaiting hitting the track for the first time.
"I'm excited and nervous, explained Carter. "I'm excited just being in the event, but I sure would like to have a few more laps in a midget. Being the car owner and the driver, it will be a good balance of driving the car as hard as I can, and not spending as much money on gear. I'm a conservative driver and I always look to finish races. In this one being conservative doesn't get you anywhere. My tactic is to avoid the big one (accident) in turn one. Tuesday is going to be a pretty aggressive night of racing with 80 guys trying to get into 15 spots."
Carter's crew consists of three fellow DIRT MotorSports employees. Brian Dunlap, the Manager of Broadcast Services, will serve as the team's crew chief, with Director of Human Resources Jennifer Newlin also turning the wrenches. Shane Carson, the Vice President of Race Operations for the World of Outlaws, who is also competing in the Chili Bowl, will help Carter with some set-up advice. The trio also serves as Carter's crew when he races with the Sprint Series of Texas in his native state, where in limited action this season, he racked up six Top-10 finishes including a runner-up finish at Grand Prairie Speedway.
With the record number of cars on hand for the famed event, Carter knows that luck will play a big role in his first attempt on the tight quarter-mile indoor clay oval. The drivers traditionally draw for heat race starting positions and passing points are utilized to help set the fields for the main events each night.
"You have to draw well and you have to hit on that set up," he said. "You get a few laps on the track in the afternoon on Tuesday. Then you have to drive the car as hard as you can."
In preparation for the event, Carter has talked to numerous drivers and crew members that have competed in the event in the past. They all have shared advice of what they believe is the key to having success at the Chili Bowl.
"I've heard some people say that the guy that can hold his breath longest, finishes well," commented Carter. "With the heat races, once they start, it's basically 10 laps of as much all out racing as you can do in a car. They go by pretty fast."
While he is at the Chili Bowl to race, Carter still is quick to put on his CFO hat, and credit the success of the event put together by race organizers Emmett Hahn and Lanny Edwards. The Chili Bowl began in 1987, as a two-day event with 48 cars in action, and has progressed into a record five days of racing this year, with nearly 280 cars present.
"They have created a unique spectacle of racing," explained Carter. "I would venture to say there is not another like it in the country. I give Emmett (Hahn) and Lanny (Edwards) a lot of credit. It's taken a lot of years and a lot of investment in time and effort to make that kind of event happen. It's good to see it survive and prosper."
Having attended the Chili Bowl in the past as a spectator, Carter marvels at how the event has grown over the years, and the 'Who's Who' list of drivers that have competed and ultimately won, in what is described in the racing industry as one of the toughest races in the world to win.
"Nothing will ever match the Chili Bowl, in terms of prestige, the winners, and past champion's list," he said. "All of that has created a very unique racing event."
When Carter attends business functions with people from outside of the racing industry, he still receives some odd looks when he mentions that he spends his free time at a race track or in his garage working on his race car, along with his children who race quarter midgets. He also enjoys explaining what he does to those outside of the racing field.
"Given what we do for a living, most people will better understand that I am out racing cars too," shared Carter. "It's a very unique combination of a hobby and a career. Most of the guys look at me and scratch their head and think I'm crazy. Most of them are out spending money playing golf and doing that on the weekend, and my kids are in their quarter midgets or we're racing sprint cars or working in the garage. It's the same. They understand that it's a good distraction from work, yet similar. We're very lucky to get to be able to do this from a hobby and a career perspective."
Carter has one goal in mind when he takes to the track at the Tulsa Expo Center, and that is to drive every lap like it is the last one and he is going for the win. Carter's co-worker and friend Shane Carson will also be racing in the event, and if the two find themselves competing for a transfer spot on the last lap, it will be business as usual.
"We're going to race all out," said Carter. "What happens on the track stays out on the track. The good thing is that we're both clean racers. He's not going to spin me or do anything crazy and I'm not going to spin him. We're going to race clean and see what happens."
The 21st Annual Chili Bowl runs from January 9-13. Along with Carter and Carson, numerous World of Outlaws drivers will be in action. In addition, reigning 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion Tim McCeadie, who won the Chili Bowl in 2006, will also be in competing.
The 2007 World of Outlaws season opens on February 9 at Volusia Speedway Park with the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented By Mopar Speedshop.