- Posted on August 23rd, 2011
Catchfence.com - by Marty Tyler - Matt Carter is the son of well-known and longtime NASCAR crew chief and NASCAR Cup team owner Travis Carter, but just like so many other drivers the economy is making his racing efforts difficult, at best. Matt has found himself relegated to a part time start and park situation with Rick Ware Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at present, a situation he does not like but is trying to keep visible in the garage areas with hopes of landing an opportunity.
“I went with Rick Ware and did a few start and parks a couple of times this year for him. I may do some more. Maybe Bristol will be the next one I will go to,” he began. “To me, if you look at the current situation, the only teams that have any money are either teams that are the most popular in the sport like Hendrick, Gibbs and the big Cup teams. Then the most popular Nationwide teams are the Cup team owners, basically. Even Roush doesn’t have (adequate) sponsors for his Nationwide teams now. I think even Jr (Dale Earnhardt Jr., JR Motorsports) struggles and has cut back on cars. And then some of the other teams either have money themselves or have drivers who have money or their family has money to bring to the team so they don’t need as much sponsorship. It’s tough. It’s tough for everybody.”
“I believe (with adequate sponsorship and the right opportunity) I could do well in racing. The reason I say that is because I know what I’ve done since I started racing and the people I’ve raced against, the crew men I’ve had and what I’ve been up against. I’ve gotten better and better every year and not being able to go racing for the past two years, I mean, man that’s tough. Even the last year I ran ARCA I was getting better and better the whole year and learning more and more. Now maybe that’s the last year I’ll be able to race but I didn’t think that at the time. I’m still trying. I don’t want to give up. I’m not ready to quit. I know a lot of people who get to where I’m at right now and give up, but I’ve made this decision to keep trying so that’s what I’m going to do. I could name 20 guys I’ve raced against who could do a good job and they’re not getting opportunities either. Obviously there are more racers without money than there are with money. I don’t think there are too many with both, in my opinion. I’m not making any money, I can tell you that, but I don’t have to have a lot of money to be happy. I believe I can do a good job. I just wish I could get an opportunity in some decent equipment to show what I can do. I wish that had happened five or six years ago. I didn’t even get to test back when that was real big. (laughing) I know people who couldn’t even ride a bicycle in a straight line and were getting tested right and left for whatever reason. I don’t know if it had something to do with Dad being who he is. Maybe they thought they didn’t need to give me a shot if Dad couldn’t do it, that maybe I must be really bad. I don’t know, I think a lot of people have the misconception that we have a lot of money which is not true. That might hurt things, but who knows.”
Speaking of his father, I mentioned I have spoken with Travis several times, and asked how he is doing in his retirement.
“He’s doing good, not doing a whole lot but kind of taking it easy,” Matt explained. “That’s about it. I think he would like to have more things to do. I think it would be different if he quit (racing and working) on his own when he did and not because of the money. It’s not like he chose to quit when he did. I think he would be happier now.”
We discussed the fact that he traveled to races with his father when he was much younger and had a chance to learn work ethics, loyalty and so many other old school ways. Therefore, I would have thought that bringing old school ways to new school technology would have been an advantage to his current efforts.
“There are so many new people in this sport right now that didn’t even know what racing was 10 years ago, and there’s a lot of back stabbing people,” stated Matt. “There’s always been that but now I believe it’s really bad. I’m not an extroverted person, I’m kind of shy but when you do talk to some people, if you’re not on their team or whatever they just ignore you and stick to themselves. It’s not like it used to be and the team owners need money to operate, to pay their bills so they need a driver with money. It’s a shame but it is what it is.”
He told me about going to Martinsville in 2003 with the Truck Series as a driver for Carl Long. He qualified 14th with Jimmy Spencer ahead of him and Darrell Waltrip behind him, two drivers that had driven for his father at one time. In his first and only Truck Series event he finished 17th. That is quite telling of his capabilities.
Talent is talent but it takes quality equipment to succeed and it also takes determination, commitment. knowledge, pride and a belief in oneself to do this job and do it well. Take any of the top drivers today and put them in much lesser equipment and the results will speak volumes. I’ve interviewed a lot of up and coming young racers and believe I have gotten a feel, so to speak, for the sincerity they may or may not possess. I truly believe Matt is genuine and that this young man has it all. He just needs the money to show what he can do. In addition to all of the above he has a BIG additional advantage to offer someone who would like to become involved as an owner or sponsor.
He explained, “My goal is to get some stuff together to start our own race team. I figure if nobody else is going to hire me then I’m just going to try to do it myself. We’ve got two 20,000 square feet race shops with paint booths, fab shops, a chassis dyno, full of equipment with trailers, carts, tools and anything you need to go racing except the cars, the people and the money. People come there who don’t have anywhere to work, they don’t have anything. That aggravates me more than anything because we have everything ready to go. All we need is the money to buy some cars, hire some people and we could go to the race track in 2 weeks, pretty much I think, and run the Nationwide Series. I think that’s pretty realistic really. I know we can do it a lot cheaper than some people do (with all the equipment, shops, etc.). We could have a small number of employees and a few cars and run descent to start off anyway. I just want to put that out there so people will know. I don’t even have to own the team. If we could find an investor to come in here and make this possible then they could own the team and call it whatever they want. Whatever is the best way for this to happen I’m all game for. I just want to race. That’s what I care about.”
The cost to attend any race today is prohibitive for some race fans, but I believe one of the reasons for the empty seats in the grandstands is the missing “magic” we used to see like Dale, Sr.’s “pass in the grass,” and the time he came from 18th with just a few laps to go to win the race. Magic can come in many forms. Remember Trevor Bayne’s win at Daytona this year for the Wood Brothers? That was amazing and with the right sponsors and opportunities perhaps Matt can bring a little magic of his own to this sport and put the name Carter back in Victory Lane. I truly hope so.
Anyone wanting to bring some potential magic to this sport with a talented young racer or to learn more about Matt’s plans for starting a team can contact Carter’s management company, Knight Motorsports Management or firstname.lastname@example.org
And be sure to visit Matt Carter’s new site too at MattCarterRacing.com
Good luck Matt. I’ll be watching, pulling for you and waiting to report your dream come true!
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