Shane Carson - National Sprint Car HoF inductee
Shane Carson Inducted into National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Shane Carson had a plan from the time he was eight years old selling souvenir programs at the race track in Oklahoma City for his father Bud. He knew that he wanted to make a living in ...
Shane Carson Inducted into National Sprint Car Hall of Fame
Shane Carson had a plan from the time he was eight years old selling souvenir programs at the race track in Oklahoma City for his father Bud. He knew that he wanted to make a living in racing in some capacity. At that time he was not sure if he would end up driving or being a promoter like his father. All that mattered to him was that he was involved in the sport.
After starting his career racing on motorcycles, Carson quickly adapted to sprint cars and in just his second season in a sprint car, he won the prestigious Knoxville Raceway Track Championship in 1978. He would go on to have a long and storied career winning at tracks all across the country.
Recently he was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame located off the second turn at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, joining his father who was inducted posthumously in 2003. He was part of the 18th class honored at sprint car racing's most famed track.
"It is a great honor to be a part of the Hall of Fame," said Carson, a native of Yukon, Oklahoma. "For years I have seen many drivers that I have watched and race promoters including my dad go into it. I have a ton of respect for all those people, and now being one of them it's still a little hard to imagine that I would be considered for that. I am very proud to be a part of it."
In conjunction with the Hall of Fame inductions, Carson also took part in the Master's Classic at Knoxville Raceway on June 2. He won the event in 2006, and charged to a 10th --place finish this season, after having to start at the back of the field. He had trouble with his car and was forced to borrow a car from current Knoxville Raceway regular Josh Higday's team for the event which pits competitors against each other in 360-sprint cars.
"Last year we had a little bit better luck that we had this year," Carson said. "Just that experience of being able to go out and run at Knoxville after winning a lot of races there was great. Being able to come back, after I began running there in 1977 and run a race and be competitive is big."
Knoxville has always been a special track to Carson, who lived in Des Moines for a number of years and raced weekly at the famed half-mile beginning in 1977. He won eight feature events in his career at Knoxville Raceway in a 410-sprint car and competed in the Knoxville Nationals 22 times, racing his way into the main event 11 times. He was inducted into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame in 2001.
"In all of my Knoxville wins, I can tell you who ran second in almost all of them, and what kind of battle it was to actually pull it off," smiled Carson.
Carson won twice during his career with the World of Outlaws at the storied Eldora Speedway in Ohio, one of which was the season finale for the series in their inaugural season of 1978. He finished a career-best third in series points in 1982, and was fifth the following year. He also was the 1986 National Championship Racing Association (NCRA) champion. He has six career NCRA wins, as well as two wins with the American Sprint Car Series (ASCS).
"I've won races in Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and other places," recalls Carson. "Some of the bigger ones were the World of Outlaws season finales at Eldora. I won the season finale there twice. I only won one USAC (United States Auto Club) race, but I only ran two, so I am batting .500 with USAC. I won that one in Oklahoma City. It was a Dirt Champ race (Silver Crown) and I won it on my birthday. That was big. All the wins are big and you remember them all."
While his talent behind the wheel won him many races, Carson is quick to share the credit with the teams that he drove for over the years. He still competes on occasion when his schedule allows. He took part in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals this season and has raced a couple of times with the Sprint Series of Texas, with whom he won an event last season.
"All of my career, I have the best car owners," shared the Hall of Famer. "That is probably what did it for me. That gave me the opportunity to go and race with all of these guys."
From coast-to-coast Carson is one of the most respected individuals in the entire racing industry. Whether it's stopping and sharing a story with someone that saw him race in the past, or talking to the drivers of today, Carson continues to be an ambassador for the sport that he has dedicated his life to.
"It's all about relationships," beamed Carson. "I always tell everyone that the life experiences that you gain out on the road in racing, that you can't even compare them to anything else. There was a saying in the past that said, 'Join the Navy and see the world.' I always said, 'Join the Outlaws and see the U.S.' I was lucky enough to do that. I have friends all over the country from coast-to-coast and north-to-south. I wouldn't trade those relationships for anything."
Carson currently heads Industry Relations for the World of Outlaws, meeting with promoters and those involved in the sport each and every day to continue to help build the sport that he loves. He is quick to credit his father Bud for all that he taught him as he grew up in the sport, and learned what it took to be successful. Carson himself promoted races for a number of years, following in the footsteps of his father. When asked if he could ever work anywhere other than racing, he stops and with his trademark smile, shakes his head from side-to-side.
"I really couldn't see myself doing anything else," he said. "My dad gave me the ability and thought process to make that happen. Being inducted into the same Hall of Fame that he is in was really special for me."