S C Motorsports
#18 World of Outlaws Sprint Car
215 N. High St., Rt 1 Box 153
|Born 1966, I guess you could say "racing's in my blood". My whole life I have been around it. From very early as a child my dad would take me to the races in western Pennsylvania where I grew up. We went to a lot of the local tracks back then: Clearfield (then dirt), Smuckers (Latrobe), Tri City, Motordrome (dirt), Jennerstown (dirt), Marion Center, Sharon, and Lernerville. It seemed that most Friday nights we would be at Lernerville, which was cool with me cuz they ran the sprint cars. Guys like Ted Wise, Buddy Cochran, Ed Murphy. Jack Sodeman, Lou Blaney, Ed Lynch, and Brad Doty just to name a few. There was the occasional appearance by Lynn Paxton, or Smokey Snellbaker from the east, or Johnny Beaber and Rick Ferkel from Ohio. I always loved seeing guys like Ferkel come in from outta town in the early spring and just flat put it on them. (click here to see a pic of a much younger Rick and me) Ferkel was my childhood hero. Those travelling guys had the life - picking and choosing where to race for the best money - when in reality, it was more like just making ends meet. This was all before the World of Outlaws as we now know it. I can remember outlaw shows at Lernerville when drivers from across the country came in to race. Guys from the west coast could you believe! I couldn't wait to see all the them come in and see how our local guys would fair against these "professionals". (click here to see some pics from that era.) I can remember racing my bicycle at Lernerville every chance I could -- about once a month they would hold bike races for the kids before the features. I went to a bunch of them for sure! I even rode a girls bike sometimes cuz it was the fastest one we had! They used to divide the kids up by age, and if you had a shifter or not. I can remember an old gold bike of mine with the banana seat and sissy bar that had a 3 speed shifter on the frame. It broke from just riding that poor bike to death, and my dad even welded up the rear hub so that I could still ride it. The neat thing was that if you stopped peddling then started again, it would change gears! I have no idea how that happened but it was pretty neat for sure. As long as you knew you were starting out in first gear - chances were two outta three that you would get a higher gear once you stopped and started again. I thought, man, now I have them -- I have a secret advantage against all the non-shifter kids. Well, needless to say - that didn't work out. I can remember leading a bike race into turn three, peddling my guts out, and racing into the corner too low, where I literally got stuck in the red clay! How embarrassing! I was leading and now this! I am sure I shed some tears about that one. I never really won any bike races at Lernerville, but I sure won my share of schoolyard races with my friends. I would even get some of them to come to the races at Lernerville with me - We would be in the back of the pick-up constantly tuning our bikes until we got there. I used to laugh at kids popping wheelies and showing off before the races - I can remember even walking my bike out onto the track one time thinking I was saving my energy for the race when it counted. Yea, I was always trying to outthink the competition.
I didn't just race pedal power though. I got my first go-kart for my fifth birthday. I was ripping up the yard all around my grandparent's farm. Eventually I got moved to the orchard where it didn't take long to rip up enough sod to resemble a track. (click here to see a humorous pic of me and my new racer) Shortly thereafter, I "got on my head" for the first time. My mom, who wasn't real keen on the idea of my running around on a kart, insisted that I begin wearing a helmet. Undaunted, I wore my dad's construction helmet until I got a beautiful flame job helmet (which I still have!) Soon after, my cousin got a kart too, and we raced each other every chance we could. It was in Knox, PA that we tasted our first real competition though. Wow, did we get an eye opener. These guys had custom racing frames, big tires, and hopped up engines. Still I remember doing pretty well for the equipment we had. Later on I got my first true racing kart - a '66 Rupp Dart A-bone. (click here to see a pic of my first race kart) It was painted a beautiful purple laquer with gold metalflake. That was the first that I can remember using the number 18. Actually it was 183 at first - the three was for the third letter of the alphabet, which happened to be C for Carlson. Later the number evolved to 18c and then simply 18. We raced a McCulloch 2 cycle engine for a while until I blew it up on nitro trying to impress a girl at 16. I had girls and cars on my mind - still going to watch sprint cars races and eventually meeting the future Mrs. Carlson by taking her on dates to Lernerville. I didn't race much for a couple years -
In 1984, I went to college at Purdue University and simply didn't have the time or money needed to go racing. Oh well, I was on my own, and in Kinser country, the state of Indiana. There would be plenty of racing in my future. My first race I attended in Indiana was a World of Outlaws event at nearby Kokomo Speedway. The track was tiny! But it was definitely not short on excitement! I returned to Kokomo a few times after that for their weekly shows, and was disappointed to learn that they ran wingless. I couldn't believe it. I had grown up watching all the fast guys bolting on these huge wings and really flying. But this was a more "traditional" form of sprint racing. The action was still good, but it just didnt fuel my passion for speed. I went to the heart of Kinser country, Bloomington, IN, where they raced weekly with wings. There I saw 4 Kinsers racing, and Steve and Mark were not there! There was Bob, Randy, Kelly, and Sheldon Jr. Man, I thought -- this is racing!
In 1987 I got married to my high school sweetheart, Sarah, and she transferred from Penn State out to Purdue. Now I've got a team I thought, and it was time to get back into racing karts full time. We bought out a team locally that had done well with Shoemaker engines, a name I knew very well from my days of racing in PA. The first night out at the local track in Crawfordsville I came from the next to last row (19th) to finish second. The winner had started on the pole, and in another couple laps I would have got him too. All eyes were on us being the "new guys". The winning was just around the corner. Anothet time, I was leading a feature at Crawfordsville when the red came out with two to go. At the time the flag came out, the bolts in my carburetor had vibrated loose and the engine stalled. The two little allen bolts were still there, but I needed to tighten them to continue. During the red, Sarah, my team, came out on the track where I was frantically screaming for an allen wrench. At the time she had no idea what I meant at all. Coming from a very non-competitive, non-mechanical background - I had plunged her head first into my world not knowing the consequences. (Now I trust her to do anything she wants to on my race cars!) She ran back to our pit area and grabbed a cheap set of allen wrenches and brought them out on the track. The pit steward warned that anyone working on their karts would be disqualified - but when the second place guy asked to borrow the same set of wrenches - we both figured - hey, they can't DQ the two guys running 1-2. And we were right. I went on to win that race because of Sarah's help. And the memory of our first win together is like it happened just yesterday. I learned to build my own engines by this time and we had been winning pretty consistently. We even travelled around a bit winning races all through the midwest. I got hooked up with PA sprint car driver and old Blanket Hill kart track friend, Rod George, who was building his own kart chassis in 1988. With his chassis and my engines we were practically unbeatable everywhere we went from Illinois to Pennsylvania.
In 1989 I was getting asked to build engines for my competitors so we decided to make our hobby a business, next acquiring a dealership for Rod's karts. In 1989 we won 53 feature events, including some big money and national events too.
In 1990 and '91 we travelled even farther racing karts, and after finishing 1st in one class and second in another 8 hours from home on a Sunday night (keep in mind we both had jobs!) - getting two identical twelve inch trophies and having both my engines torn down to nothing at 2 in the morning. We were one of the top karting teams in the nation at that time, but I was getting burnt out on karting. (click here to see a pic of our kart team)
So, in 1992 we decided to get into sprint cars - a life-long dream. At first we tried to still race the karts competitively but soon figured we couldn't keep up with doing and affording both. We ran three times with the sprinter in the fall of '92 in Illinois, my first race being at Jacksonville. We had bought an older car, an '85 Shores, which came with a nice little open trailer and some spares that needed a lot of work for $5500 (of which we made monthly payments of $200 on 'til we could go pick it up). (click here to see some pics of my first sprinter) What we discovered was that we were eager to go sprint car racing, but needed sponsor support to take it seriously.
In 1993, we bought a '90 J&J sprint car by buying out a team in Oklahoma. We even tasted some early success at Butler, MI. (click here for a photo of Brian in victory lane) We ran the majority of the season in Indiana and Illinois, earning Rookie of the Year at Bloomington Speedway, Bloomington, Indiana, home of a few other famous racers. To this day, Bloomington Speedway is still very special to me because "It's a stand-on-the-gas joint."
1994, Bloomington decided to go to non-wing racing, and we thought the future was in winged outlaw racing, so we decided to hit the national circuit and travel with The All-Star Circuit of Champions, running slightly more than half of the season; combined with our limited local sponsor budget, and a hard crash at Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, Ohio that wiped out 75% of our equipment in one hit - it made an abrupt end to our season.
1995 was considered to most to be a rebulding season. Realizing that it took corporate dollars to run 80+ races, the SC Motorsports team began a facelift of the motorsports program, which included new equipment and a brand new shop, located in Linden, Indiana. 1995 also saw the team racing a limited schedule with The All-Stars, as well as a few local shows with some consistent top 5 finishes.
1996 saw the return of SC Motorsports to the national scene. Once again, traveling with The All-Star Circuit of Champions, racing 85 events in 16 states. Highlights of the season included running the dash at Lima, Ohio, and finishing tenth in the feature the same night after having to run the alphabet (C, B, and A.) Attending every race that year, and logging over 50,000 miles on the hauler, SC Motorsports finished ninth in the then Frigidaire sponsored owners points, and Brian Carlson finished ninth in drivers points - very satisfied with the results in our first full year with All-Star competition.
1997 was almost a mirror image of the 96 season, traveling with The All-Stars once again as well as many World of Outlaws and big money races, including live TV shows. Highlights of the season include Brian's first All-Star heat race win which came at the historic Eldora Speedway, and it wasn't easy - the race had perennial contenders Dale Blaney (now with the World of Outalws), Joe Gaerte (World of Outalws regular and son of the famous engine builder, Earl Gaerte), and Dean Jacobs. Also, a heat race victory at Buckeye Speedway in Orrville, Ohio which featured three wide racing between Brian, and racing legends, Danny Smith and Kelly Kinser. The SC Motorsports team once again finished ninth in owners points, and Brian finished ninth in drivers points with The All-Stars, as well as thirteenth in points at Eldora Speedway.
1998 season sees us come full-circle to yet another rebuilding year. Realizing the demands of traveling on the road more than nine months out of the year, the team purchased a new hauler - a 48 foot trailer. The new hauler wasn't ready to go by any means, but the team began Florida with new cars and engines, experienced bad luck (as it seems we always do in Florida), then headed north to run Eldora and Attica, where after a good qualifying run, Brian was a victim of a crash while leading. At the time, we were borrowing a trailer from Mike Smith, which was much appreicated, however not large enough to carry all the spare equipment needed to compete on the schedule. The following week, we took delivery on the new trailer and began the work needed to outfit it to haul two complete cars, and all the spares necessary, as Sarah says, "...to do this deal right." The new trailer also features a full living quarters, including galley and sponsor lounge, with a viewing deck high above the pit area. With a sponsor lined up to pull the trailer, we thought we were ready for travel, and like so many strokes of bad luck this season, the sponsor decided the schedule was too grueling after all. And so began the search for a tractor and the financing. Eventually. a Volvo tractor with CAT Power would pull the big trailer. In the meantime, SC Motorsports crew chief Ryan, (a.k.a. CID - which, by the way, stands for Cubic Inch Displacement ) attended Lincoln Electric Motorsports Welding School, where upon his return put his welding skills to work on the trailer. Nearly two months later; Brian, Ryan, and Brian (a.k.a. Beavis) had the team just about ready to return to the tour. While we miss being on the road with all our companion racers and fans, we have been able to spend some valuable time here at the shop, and even attending a few kart races for our customers. It's been fun to see their success under Brian's tuteledge. The team has also kept busy fulfilling sponsor requests for displaying the #18 sprinter. There was even an interview for the evening news for WLFI 18, Lafayette, Indiana's CBS affiliate, which was shot on location here at the SC Motorsports shop.
In 1999, we returned to the All Star tour with our best equipment yet. The new hauler still wasn't exactly what we wanted -- so it would be put off for another season as we borrowed a trailer from Cid to keep racing. We had a lot of fun racing with the All Stars having some real good runs, winning a B-Main at I-96 MI in the rain (click here for a very memorable photo), and some other very fine runs. But we were disappointedly an 11-24th place car each night. We skipped a few races and still finished in the top ten in points which was satisfactory... but to our team, satisfactory just wouldn't cut it.
In 2000 we knew we needed to make a change. The All Stars had been great to us and we had been loyal supporters of their series. But the World of Outlaws was getting more and more TV exposure. We weighed our decision closely then decided to tour the new millenium with the new World of Outlaws Gumout Series. This turned out to be a great decision. Not only were we more competitive with the new series, but we got much needed exposure for our sponsors. We got the opportunity to run the highly touted dirt track race at Bristol Motor Speedway, where the sprinters qualified nearly 3 seconds quicker than the Winston Cup car, yet on dirt! Money-wise the series worked out well too as we finished 10th in series points by years end. We ran real well at some local shows and still got to travel so it was a successful year from all aspects.
In 2001, we again concentrated our efforts on the WoO Gumout series, and tried to get to even more local shows just for fun. Early in the year we knew we had hit on some success with strong runs at Bristol that were noticed by the media recognizing our new paint scheme and sponsors on board. With the press and media attention gathering - a few good runs with the WoO Gumout series, including top tens like at Superior,Wi, and then eventually making our first A-Main TV appearance at Fargo. This was soon followed by a convincing run the following night in a full WoO points race brought the attention of many on our teams efforts. Soon after, we would have what would probably be the highlight of my career to date - a heat race win with the WoO at the prestigious King's Royal at Eldora Speedway - a track that I really love - and in front of a national tv audience on TNN (The Nashvill Network) as well! Backed up with a convincing run in the "dash" with a third place run, passed only by Steve Kinser - led to our starting our very first Kings Royal A-main event on the front row of the four abreast parade lap. Now that's some pretty tough competition! Although the night would end early in a crash during the A-main that destroyed our race car, the events of that might will forever be etched in my mind. Our success wouldn't stop there though - after having to build an all new car the following week, our success continued with the Gumout Tour after Knoxville. Good runs, including some dashes, a hard charger award at Grand Forks, and we were turning everyone's heads in the pits, and at home on their television sets. A heat race win at Tulsa, and another top ten at Lakeside were just a few of the highlights along the way. We culminated a season with the Gumout Tour finishing in 7th place in points, with several top finishes and surprising qualifying runs with undoubtedly the smallest budget on the tour. 2001 also brought the birth of our son AJ, who has been an integral part of our team since.
2002 brought us back to the WoO Gumout series for a full points year along with some great exposure with the WoO series on television. We raced coast to coast and got some great experience as well as exposure for our growing list of sponsors. Races of note were the chance to run at Bristol Motor Speedway (which was dirt covered for this special event). With the 8 teams that followed the WoO Gumout schedule 100% this year, to be included in this honorable group was quite an achievement. It really is satifying to travel a whole year, 21 states and 60 plus races to be able to stand there at the end of the season in front of your peers and recieve their applause. We finished the season 8th in points, just a few points shy of 6th and 7th. We had some really good runs this year with the Gumout series. We finished in the top ten several nights. Our best was a 5th place finish at Corning , IA, where we won the B-main, and also earned a hard charger award on that same night. We earned 6 hard charger awards during the course of the season, (more than any other competitor.) Chalk that up to good racing or poor qualifying, either way, we were very pleased to be presented with a plaque and a free steering gear courtesy of KSE. We also received an award from Hank's Performace Products honoring our 3 B-main wins this season (again the most of any competitor in the series)winning at Corning, IA, Benton, MO, and Sioux Falls, SD. Their coupons will help us gear up even better for next season, as Hank and Denise have always been great supporters of our team. We received a nice plaque commemorating our 100% support of the Gumout series since it's inception three years ago. Bob Bennett is the only other competitor who has been there all the way with us. And finally, the eighth place trophy. Although we felt like we should have finished better in points by season's end. Throughout all of our engine adversities this season, we survived another grueling schedule and our proud of our achievements and the competitors who finished ahead of us. At one point or another during the season, every other car out here on the tour with us had helped us in one way or another. Our thanks to all the other teams, drivers, and officials, who made this series our home for the past three years.
For 2003, Ted Johnson, owner of the World of Outlaws, decided to eliminate the highly successful Gumout series and try to lure those top ten teams to run the entire World of Outlaws schedule coast to coast. While we were unable financially and business-wise to commit to the entire schedule, we did manage to run 80% of the shows and finish in the top 25 in points by year's end. Well, with any race team, they will tell you they have had Ups, and Downs -- even some "upside downs". I guess we're no different. 2003 was a typical "roller coaster" season for the SC Motorsports #18 We got a good start out of the box, then promptly scattered a perfectly good racecar down the backstretch at Sedalia, MO. Once we got rolling again with the new car, we got settled into a routine that would see us travel to 32 states with our now two year old son AJ. That's a feat in itself! We had a couple top ten "local" finishes at non-sanctioned events as we shook down the new car. We sure turned some heads when we won not one, but two, WoO heat races, back to back, in New York, on tracks that we've never even seen before. We got our first WoO top ten finish at Lebanon Valley on that trip. That's a feather in anyone's cap / resume! We qualified for a string of 6 straight A-mains when we were 9th quick at Joliet and rained out. The next night our tow rig gave out on us and left us scrambling right before the Knoxville Nationals. We chose to forego the Nationals and get our program back in order. Actually we missed something like 6 weeks out of the middle part of the season as the WoO gang headed to the left coast. When they returned - we were ready for them. We picked up a new Maxim chassis, thanks to Chuck Merril, and showed up in style with a new motorcoach. We really ran great at Eagle, then got everyone scratching their heads when we showed up at Talladega and was a top ten car all night - even passing Danny "the Dude" Lasoski in the WoO dash! Not many drivers can lay claim to that! We were going for 7th position when I got booted off the track and wound up finishing 13th. But everyone knew we were there. At New Jersey, we won another WoO heat race in very dominating fashion. From there out, the season was pretty dismal, running mostly B-mains and struggling in qualifying. We did, however, get to see some beautiful parts of this great country that we live in. It was great getting to so many new states with our family and doing what we love most - racing!
2004 was full of heartbreak for our team. We had a few on track incidents which destroyed two cars, and had a couple engine failures related to experimental pistons that cost us two real nice motors. Two nights after destroying a car while passing a lapped car on the frontstretch of Granite City, IL's Tri-City Speedway, we would bounce back with a new car and a nice run on National television on the Outdoor Channel from Princeton, MN. The telecast also featured a very flattering spotlight on our team that really helped the PR department here at SC Motorsports. The second big time crash of the season came not too long afterwards, however. The combined effect of these were catastrophic to our team. The second crash occurred at Rolling Wheels Speedway in New York. This came right after a WoO series best 5th place qualifying effort at Lebanon Valley, running strong in the fast dash, and bringing home a top ten by the end of the night. Rolling Wheels started off similarly with a good qualifying run, coming within a lap of winning our heat, and earning another dash start. Unfortunately our luck ran out there. At the start of the feature, a few cars ahead of me checked up, and I was punted into the frontstretch wall from behind. The crash destroyed our racecar while we were 16th in points and fighting for a coveted "Mean 15" position within the series. Ironically, the 15th place points competitor, Jonathan Allard was also injured in a seperate crash that same night. Lots of "woulda couldas" throughout the season, but a separated shoulder was serious enough that it forced us to miss the next 6 weeks of racing and put us completely out of the points scenario. We returned just before Knoxville Nationals time, destroying motor #2 in our qualifying run after qualifying a personal best there with a new motor. We ran a few more races with the WoO that year, but never really put things back together for our team. Instead, we concentrated on working with Austrailian competitor, Rodney Maxwell, who was here in the states to do some racing. Rod purchased a turnkey car and a bunch of parts from us to take back with him to AU. The few weeks on the road with Rod gave us a newfound respect for the sport we love so much and made us really want to go back to racing full time again. That desire had been lacking since the crash at Rolling Wheels. By years' end we would wind up finishing 23rd in series points even after missing nearly half of the schedule. The season would end on an upnote as we celebrated the birth of our son, Seth.
In 2005 we took most of the season off to regroup financially and strengthen our business, to evaluate the direction of the sport, and see where we fit best into the puzzle. We did get to a few sprint races, and even turned wrenches for a couple guys before I decided I am not ready to consider hanging up my helmet just quite yet. We spent many weekends doing tire testing for the newly released Hoosier kart race tires, and even made it to a few kart races just to keep fresh in my driving skills.
In 2006, we went back out on the road again with the World of Outlaws as part of the "Mean 15". This was a great opportunity for our team, and we took full advantage of it. We accomplished something that very few in the world of sprint car racing have done, completing a full season on the road, racing with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. As if that isn't a monumental enough task, we did this as a family effort.
2007: The team is currently busy competing with the World of Outlaws. The team will campaign primarily with the World of Outlaws on an unprecedented tv platform consisting of 8 nights of coverage on ESPN2 and 12 nights to be aired on Speed Channel.
2008: A tough economic climate forced us to stay at home for the season. We continued to be active in showing the race car for sponsors, taking it to car shows and school displays and the sort. It's just not the same without the actual racing though. We did get to a few kart races as well and continued tire testing with Hoosier tire on the go-kart racing scene.
Throughout my career I have been very proud of our accomplishments. Brian, Sarah, and the whole SC Motorsports gang would like to personally thank our loyal fans, friends and sponsors who have continued to support us. We feel that Christ is an integral part of our team and wish to share our love for our Lord with others. He has blessed us over the years, and his rich blessings are available to anyone that chooses to follow him. Please take a moment and visit our online testimony and be sure to visit our sponsor links page. Keep looking for our return to a racetrack near you soon.