07/14/2012 9:27 AM
A fiery crash
slowed Justin Carroll’s racing career, but he’s back in
victory lane with a new nickname.
from Carroll’s worst racing moment, which happened last year
at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont. A car got into the
back of No. 57 and turned it sideways. Another slammed into
the side and drove over the roof of Carroll’s car.
“I closed my
eyes and hoped I’d make it through,” Carroll said of when he
saw the car coming. “Once everything stopped it was all
good, but the other guy tried to restart his car. Fuel was
pouring everywhere and it ignited and the fuel was all near
my car and I got scared.”
dazed from the crash and the safety crew quickly pulled him
A link to the
video of the crash and fire are on Carroll’s website
It took about six months
to rebuild the car and to
regain his nerves, Carroll said.
After the effort
to get the car ready to race again, Carroll said he knows
protecting the equipment is important. He passed up the Big
Money 100 race to run his late model car in the PASS
South/super limited late model race at Anderson Speedway in
“It came down to
we have such a good car, the Legend car, we didn’t want to
tear it up running that Big Money race,” Carroll said. “When
people are going for a lot of money, sometimes they see the
money more than trying to protect their car. We decided to
run the late model.”
It turned out to
be a good decision. There was a 16-car pile-up late in the
Big Money 100 and Carroll won the Firecracker 50.
second and took the lead on lap 14 and set sail,” Carroll
said. “We had a fast car and my crew worked hard all week
and obviously we couldn’t have done it without IBCI and
Asbill Stilles, our great sponsors.”
just got his driver’s license, stays busy between racing,
going to school, fishing when he gets a chance and working
at RPM Performance, where he helps rebuild Legends cars.
on my mind,” said the 16-year-old Jay M. Robinson High
student. “If it’s not racing, it’s either family or school
work. I try to keep my grades up as much as I can.”
When school and
work is done, it’s Justin and his dad, John Carroll, out in
the garage trying to figure out what to do to make the car
moved to Concord from Florida when Justin was a young boy.
His mother’s job was transferred here.
“I was into
racing, but I was too young to race then,” Carroll said.
evening the Carrolls went to the Jack In the Box Summer
Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We loved it and
wanted to get into it and we’ve been racing ever since,”
The first couple
of years were a struggle in the Bandoleros series.
racing instead of watching was an adjustment, but once I
started getting good in it we came in second in the (2010)
national championship,” Carroll said.
Carroll moved on
to the Legends cars and won the Summer Shootout Young Lions
championship by one point in 2011. He was Mr. Consistency,
winning once but finishing in the top four nine weeks in a
“My dad works
for Roush Fenway Racing with the (Sprint) Cup car and he
knows a lot about racing and knows how to do set-up, so I
knew from the get-go I had the right equipment underneath me
and it was up to me,” Carroll said.
Then it became a
matter of getting in the practice and the laps on the track.
Carroll ran 50
races in 2011 between Legends and late models. In 2010, he
ran 74 times in the Bandoleros.
goal in racing is to make it to NASCAR one day. I would love
to do that, hopefully get big enough sponsors one day that
could get me up to NASCAR, but it takes a lot of money and
support from the people who have the name and know who to
get you into NASCAR,” Carroll said.
If that doesn’t
happen, Carroll said he plans to keep racing Legends and
late models. He loves the adrenaline.
“You never know
what’s going to happen,” he said. “You’ve always got to
watch out and you’re going so fast you’ve got to make those
quick moves to avoid things or to try to get the victory.
It’s very intense.”
Racing is a
family affair for the Carrolls. Tuesday at the Summer
Shootout Justin’s mom, Susan, and former babysitter,
Christie Cepeda, helped pull the car out of the garage. His
girlfriend, Kelsea Rousell, also a Robinson student, was
there to help.
Carroll said he
pulls for all the Ford drivers at Roush Fenway, but Carl
Edwards is his favorite. “He has a great personality. He’s
the same guy talking to me and you or on TV. He’s the same
comes from another of his favorite racers, Joe Winchell, a
Florida driver. There is a picture of Carroll and Winchell
holding a trophy on the veteran driver’s webpage.
driver Randy LaJoie, who does the seats for Carroll’s car,
gave the best racing advice. “He said, ‘The white line is
your friend.’ The white line is always on the bottom of the
Moving from the
Young Lions to the Pro division has been a challenge for
“Young Lions is
sort of a beginner class and six or seven will be really
good and the rest of the guys are still learning,” Carroll
said. “If you got sent to the back in the Young Lions, it
was a lot easier to get the front. Those guys back there
weren’t as fast, where in Pro, every car is fast. If you get
sent to the back it’s going to be really tough to get back
to the front…they race you clean, but you can’t make
scheduled to race at Motor Mile in Radford, Va. Saturday in
the PASS/CSS super limited late model series.
Next season he
hopes to move up to the PASS South super late models. It
depends on getting sponsorship.
Plemmons at 704-789-9140.