Jed Emert has a lot on his racing agenda for the coming year and beyond. After several years of achieving success in the go-kart ranks as a driver, the Maryville, Tenn. racer is in the process of transitioning from that form of racing to Dirt Late Models. At the same time, however, the 20-year-old is remaining true to his racing roots by serving as a promoter of go-kart events and an entire series.
Those transitions are proving to be both rewarding and challenging.
“Steve Richey called me in March of last year and asked me to drive this car and it’s been a blessing,” Emert says of his Late Model exploits. “It’s a good car. I’ve just got to figure out how to get around in it.”
One of the challenges Emert and his team currently face is that of where to race their GRT machine with crate engine power.
“The plan for the year is kind of up in the air, to be honest,” he explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “It mostly depends on what racetracks are going to decide as far as what motor rules they’re going to go with. That’s what will decide where we’re going to run and what classes we’ll run. If everybody goes to a steelhead deal, we’ll probably run Sportsman. But if there’s a chance to run crates somewhere, we’re going to do that too.”
As with any driver, time in the racing seat is key for Emert’s development as he makes the move from go-karts to full-bodied Late Models.
“It’s definitely been a different experience from the go-karts,” he pointed out. “We didn’t get a lot of experience last year because we had a lot of motor problems with different stuff happening. I’m looking forward this year to growing a lot as a driver. If we start the year off on a good note, by the end of the year I think we can be contending for wins. It’s just going to take time, I need seat time.”
And what goals does a driver making this sort of transition set for himself?
“Obviously we want to win,” he proclaimed. “But it would be kind of foolish for me to come in expecting to win, especially in my first few times out. Hopefully by the end of the year, that’s what we can do, go out and win races.”
But Emert isn’t leaving the karting world completely in his rear view mirror. As a matter of fact, the racer is in the process of becoming one of the most noted series and event promoters in that realm. After racing for seven years in the karts and winning numerous races, he now hopes to contribute to the sport in another way.
And in so doing, he is gaining new insight into the business of racing.
“It gives you a different perspective on things,” Emert declared. “I started my Rocky Top Summer Series thinking that I was going to make something that I’d want to race in myself. It’s given me an appreciation for track owners and promoters. Now we’re doing the deal with 411 Motor Speedway’s new go-kart track and I’m excited about that. I think it’s going to be something fun for people to come out and do on Friday nights.
“I think the 411 deal and my series are going to continue to grow and be good things. It’s like anything else, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”