During the most recent off season, Gatlinburg, Tennessee native Mack McCarter along with his older brother Pierce made the decision that the younger of the two would race on the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series in 2014. That southeastern based touring series utilizes the 604 crate engine developed by General Motors as a cost effective approach to late model racing.
The NeSmith tour had originally been slated to begin its campaign at the Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. in late January, but Mother Nature had other plans. Instead the series got underway this past weekend at the Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, GA in conjunction with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
“We’ve run good here in the NeSmith Series before so we decided to try and run for the championship this year,” McCarter explained of his team’s decision to run the full circuit. “We got rained out last week. We were going to start at Ocala and see how we wound up, but they postponed. That means these are the first three races of the deal so we came down here.”
After a Thursday evening rain out, McCarter posted three very competitive efforts in two exhaustive days of racing in his CVR Race Car on the 4/10 mile clay oval. Finishes of 4th, 7th and 2nd have placed the young driver in 3rd place of the overall series standings behind leader Ray Cook and Walker Arthur. It is noteworthy to point out that Cook, a LOLMDS regular, does not intend to run the full NeSmith DLMS.
McCarter believes that stepping out on a touring series will provide benefits for him as a racer in the long run. And he believes that racing in the east Tennessee region has prepared him well for the task at hand.
“It’s tough,” the 19-year-old driver explained of the competition on the NeSmith DLMS. “It’s a different deal, but I would still say that where we live in east Tennessee is probably the stiffest competition around. But there’s a lot of good guys on this touring deal.”
Racing on a touring series will place new demands on the McCarter Brothers Racing team. The brothers, along with their father Mitch, spent the long weekend living out of the RV/hauler they recently purchased from LOLMDS champion Jimmy Owens.
“It’s OK for a little while,” Mack McCarter explained of the living situation. “I could probably do it for a couple of years, but I still like to come home and sleep in my own bed. It’s definitely something, that if you’re a racer, you need to do at least once.”
Overall, weekends such as these are part of the building process for a young racer. The experience gained on these trips far from home will pay big dividends later in a driver’s career. New tracks, different competition and life on the road add to that building process and serve as a stepping stone toward future goals.
“You’re just taking everything you can in and trying to build on your program,” McCarter declared. “We’ve probably only made 50 laps in this car, and it’s been great right out of the box. But you’ve got to keep up on your stuff because one little thing can hurt you against these boys.”