Following the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals driver Carson Ferguson was feeling a bit down having lost out in the series standings after having led in points with just two races remaining. Particularly stinging was the penultimate event for that tour at North Georgia Speedway when he was passed by Dale McDowell after being held up by a slower car just past the white flag.
However, a closer look at the season compiled by the 23-year-old from Lincolnton, North Carolina reveals that he had no reason to be disappointed at all. The younger cousin of Dirt Late Model ace Chris Ferguson won the Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals title for the second consecutive season earlier this year. The Don and Gena Bradsher-owned Paylor Motorsports team also added a $10,000 victory with the Hunt The Front Super Dirt Series at Swainsboro Raceway in May.
The proof that Ferguson had recovered from not only the disappointment of the Southern Nationals ending but also a hard crash at Eldora Speedway during the World 100 weekend came in another Hunt The Front show at Swainsboro when he collected a career high $23,000 payday for beating a solid field of competitors to the checkered flag.
“It’s definitely gotten better,” Ferguson declared in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “We’ve been fast but we just haven’t had a lot of luck. We struggled the first night at Eldora, passed for the lead Friday night in the heat race then had a flat tire and that kind of just put us behind. We ended up wrecking and junking our car. We went to Swainsboro and struggled the first night then bounced back the second night.”
That Swainsboro effort came at just the right time.
“It was definitely a much needed win both for the bank account and for us personally showing that we could still do it even this late in the season,” he added. “This time of year, I kind of fall off a little bit. I hit my stride there right at Dream time then at Smoky Mountain we ran good then it’s like I kind of die off this time of the year. We’re trying to change the setup around from what I normally do. The way the dirt is and it’s not as hot, it changes some stuff so I’m trying to learn that too on the setup side.”
Those big wins and championships have helped the driver who has only been driving Super Late Models for two seasons gain confidence when taking on the top stars in the sport.
“You definitely feel like you have an advantage because we’ve raced here this year and they only come for this race, but at the same time, they’re professionals,” he said in the Tri-County Race Track pit area prior to the Castrol FloRacing Night in America event. “They win the amount of money they win and they win the races they win each year because they are who they are and they can adapt. That kind of takes away the advantage you feel like you have so it puts us all on an even playing field. Ricky(Thornton Jr.) and Bobby(Pierce) have been really good this year, it’s just their year. Everything goes right for them it seems like.”
According to Ferguson, all the pieces and parts that make up a good night at the race track have consistently fallen into place for Thornton and Pierce this season. The hope for every racer is that those nights come along for them in the same way.
“Everybody has those years where things just go your way so hopefully everything has to go your way from where you pill draw to where you go out to qualify, where you start in a heat race- outside or inside -where you lineup on restarts,” he explained. “There’s a lot of things that go into it because everybody is so equal and the cars are so close. You can have a little different setup, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do with these things. Everybody’s pretty close shock wise, adjustment wise. You’ve just got get all you can get and hope things go your way.”
After what has to be considered a successful 2023, what does Ferguson hope to accomplish after the calendar turns over?
“I’ve definitely got to be more consistent, I had that goal at the beginning of this year and didn’t really achieve it. I felt good during the Spring Nationals, but through the year, I would like to have less DNFs, whether they’re in our control or not, I want to be more consistent. We’re always fast but you’ve got to have so many things go your way just to have a top-5 or a top-10. We’ll go to a lot of new tracks next year, probably. In that case, I would like to be able to line up at those tracks in different regions. This year, we stayed around the same region that we did last year and I feel like we developed a notebook and you could tell. Next year I would like to get more wins, obviously, and keep building that notebook to where in three or four years we could be the next Ricky Thornton or Bobby Pierce of this year.”
Listen to the interview by clicking the play button below:
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