Justin Carroll sits eighth in the Paramount KIA Challenge at Hickory Motor Speedway, just 14 points out of the lead, but the Concord resident isn’t focusing solely on acquiring that track’s late model title.
The Jay M. Robinson High School junior is currently embroiled in a social media battle to obtain a top-5 position in the second PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge conducted by PEAK and Michael Waltrip Racing.
“You have to get as many votes as you can to push yourself towards the front,” said Carroll. Voting ends April 30. “They take 18 of them. The top five are locked into the contest, and then they choose 11 who they believe would be good for the contest and their company. Then two come from the online system IRacing.”
Once the 18 drivers are selected, they gather at Charlotte Motor Speedway and go through different competitions. The winner will earn a PEAK racing sponsorship and the chance to compete in a NASCAR K&N series race.
“I’m currently fifth, so right now I’m locked in,” said Carroll, who would like to obtain an engineering degree from UNC Charlotte after completing high school. “We’re making ground on fourth. We’ve been catching third a little here and there, but I’m not making as much ground on him as I am on fourth.”
Carroll is campaigning for votes by reminding friends and family about the contest on his Facebook page “just about every day” and through school announcements. He also visited the Concord Hooters and encouraged the restaurant’s patrons to vote for him.
Carroll’s father, John, is a fabricator for Roush Fenway Racing, hanging the bodies on the Sprint Cup and Nationwide cars. However, the 18-year-old Carroll was actually born into short-track racing. When the family lived in Pembroke Pines, Fla., his father served as super late model driver Joe Winchell’s crew chief. It was a position he held until Carroll’s mother, Susan, received a job transfer to Charlotte.
The younger Carroll, who considers Winchell his mentor, began racing at age 9; he immediately adopted Winchell’s car number: 57. Carroll entered racing in the Bandoleros division and totaled 31 feature victories in 2009. He also finished second in the national championship that year.
After three years in Bandoleros, Carroll advanced to the Legend cars in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Summer Shootout Series. In 2011, he added the Summer Shootout Young Lions Legend title to his racing resume, defeating current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Rhodes by one point. Last year, Carroll sold his Legend car and acquired a late model.
“I feel like we’re going to progress a lot this year,” Carroll said. “We’ve already shown a huge improvement from last year.”
Carroll cites longtime friend Lee Faulk as being instrumental in his late model effort.
“Without Lee Faulk Racing and Development and my long-time sponsor IBCI (Industrial Battery and Charger Inc.), it would be impossible,” Carroll said.
Concord Speedway schedules makeup race
INEX is allowing Concord Speedway officials to conduct two events in one day on April 12 to make up rainouts that occurred March 28-29. The April 11 event will proceed as usual, with the gates opening at 5:30 p.m. On April 12, the gates will open at 10:30 a.m. The pits will be cleared at the first event’s conclusion. The gates will reopen at 4:30 p.m.
MAVTV featuring Millbridge Speedway
Millbridge Speedway will be featured in a new show airing this summer on MAVTV. There will be four different segments about the track, the drivers, the karts and the affordability. The first segment was filmed on the second night of the track’s summer session.