Lake Norman & Mooresville

Young driver focused of wins, future rides

With three races remaining in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Bojangles Summer Shootout Series, Dawson Cram was second in the Legends Young Lions Division and possessed two victories.
With three races remaining in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Bojangles Summer Shootout Series, Dawson Cram was second in the Legends Young Lions Division and possessed two victories. COURTESY OF THE CRAM FAMILY

With only three races remaining in the Bojangles Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dawson Cram was second in the Legends Young Lions division.

That put him within striking distance of point leader Chase Purdy. However, the Mooresville teenager wasn’t focused on acquiring the championship.

“We’re just trying to get some wins and get my name out,” explained the 13-year-old Cram, who trailed Purdy by 23 points.

A rising eighth-grader at Lakeshore Middle School in Mooresville, Cram’s young career is definitely on the fast track. He’s tested and raced a super truck at Hickory Motor Speedway and plans to focus on it once CMS’ Summer Shootout concludes. Next year, he plans to add late model competition.

“We’re going to focus on Hickory (in 2016),” Cram said. “We decided to do the trucks because they’re full-body, full-size like a late model. They’re also a little bit more cost affordable and the age limit is just a year younger so I can keep doing them.

“I think doing them both next year will help me keep my focus on the track. I will have to study both cars, which are a lot alike, and I will have more track experience. ”

Racing comes natural to Cram, who was born in Mooresville. Both of his grandfathers raced stock cars in the Northeast and Southwest and his father, Kevin Cram, formerly served as a NASCAR crew chief.

Dawson Cram also has three uncles who work in NASCAR. His passion for the sport started in his family’s backyard where he drove a go-kart. When he was about 4 years old his family moved to Southern California so his father could work with a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West team. A year later Dawson received a Mini Dwarf car from his father and he began racing on Southern California’s dirt tracks.

The nation’s recession brought the Cram family back to Mooresville in 2009 and a year later the youngster began his racing career in the INEX Bandolero Series. In his rookie season, he recorded 13 feature victories and earned his first championship. He still possesses the Bandolero Bandit track record at Langley (Va.) Speedway. In 2013 he received the Steve Carter Memorial Award for displaying outstanding sportsmanship.

“It told me I was being someone I wanted to be in racing,” Cram said about the award. “It was given to me for being a good sport, someone who helps out other drivers and that’s the kind of driver I want to be.”

Cram moved into Legends last year. His and his family’s performance earned them the 2014 Tom Van Wingerden Spirit of a Legend Award, given for those “best exemplifying the spirit of friendly competition upon which Legend Cars and Bandoleros are built.”

Despite Cram’s current focus on asphalt tracks, he hasn’t confined his racing to them since returning to North Carolina. He has competed in the Mini Outlaw Kart Series at Millbridge Speedway, a short dirt track near Salisbury. He also scored his first career victory in a Legends car at Millbridge.

“In a dirt car things happen faster than in an asphalt car, so to keep my reaction times up I began to race dirt,” Cram said.

Still, he and his family are looking forward to transitioning into late models because “we have way more attachments in late models and we know more people in the higher ranks with my parents being in the higher ranks (of racing).”

“We have an opportunity to run a K&N car on the West Coast in 2017,” Cram said. “We just have to keep going forward and win races.”

Monster Trucks Return

To celebrate the beginning of a new school year, The Dirt Track at Charlotte will host the Circle K Back-To-School Monster Truck Bash on Aug. 8.

A Monster Truck ride along is available with a ticket upgrade. A Scout Camporee package also is available for Charlotte-area scouts and their parents. The package includes a ticket to the Monster Truck event, a jamboree style campout in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s infield, a commemorative sleepover patch and a light breakfast on Sunday morning.

Cindric posts Top 5 in ARCA Debut

Mooresville’s Austin Cindric led 29 laps in his ARCA debut at Iowa Speedway before eventually having to settle for a fourth-place finish.

Huntersville resident Grant Enfinger finished eighth, while Sherrills Ford’s Todd Gilliland placed ninth. Enfinger continues to lead the series’ point standings.

Cindric paid tribute to one of his racing heroes, Greg Moore, in his ARCA debut. Moore was to drive for Team Penske in 2000, but was killed in a one-car accident in CART’s 1999 season finale at California Speedway. Cindric’s father and Penske Racing president Tim Cindric possesses one of the helmets Moore was to use. When the young Cindric started racing he told his father if he was ever allowed to have a painted helmet he wanted one that looked like the one Moore never got to use. The 16-year-old Cindric sent a letter to Moore’s father, seeking approval for a similar paint scheme on his helmet. Moore’s father approved and sent the teenager a couple of signed hero cards.

Hemric no longer contending for title

Kannapolis native Daniel Hemric, who was battling Casey Smith for the Southern Super Series championship, has had to relinquish his super late model ride.

A full-time competitor in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series, Hemric recently informed Carswell Motorsports he couldn’t continue racing due to his truck series commitments. The 2013 series champion, Hemric was a two-time winner this season. Carswell Motorsports named Ross Kenseth to replace Hemric.

Ebersole within striking distance

Mooresville’s Kyle Ebersole is fourth in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour point standings heading into the Aug. 1 race at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem. However, he is only seven points behind standings leader Jason Myers. In five races this year, Ebersole has produced two top-five and four top-10 finishes.

Byron Scores posts victory

Charlotte’s William Byron, who’s driving for Mooresville-based HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East, produced his fourth victory in eight starts earlier this month at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The rookie’s dominating performance extended his lead in the standings to 29 points over Austin Hill.

Deb Williams is a freelance writer: