Rookie Carlson hopes friendly site brings success in qualifying
Las Vegas, prerace: Rookie Shaun Carlson first climbed into a Pro Stock car at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the fall of 2004, when he tested Darrell Alderman's Mopar entry before subbing for the injured Alderman at the season finale in Pomona, Calif. It is also the first track at which he got into the Team Mopar/SRT Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing during testing in early February 2006. Now, he finds himself back at The Strip, where he'll continue to hone his driving skills and attempt to qualify for his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event of the season at this weekend's NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals.
The Southern California resident has been making small adjustments to his driving style and the Team Mopar/SRT Dodge to speed along his progress in the highly-competitive Pro Stock class. "Every good driver can get into any car and can do well," he says, "but this class is so competitive that well isn't good enough. So, I've been doing things inside the car, like adjusting the steering wheel to give myself more room, that will help my driving.
"Going into Vegas and feeling like I know the track and, at the same time, feeling more comfortable in the car, is going to be a good deal. It's the track where I got my Pro Stock license, the first track I tested on with Darrell's car, and the first track I tested the Mopar/SRT car, so it kind of feels like home. I have more experience in a Pro Stock car on this track than any other track in the world."
Qualifying for this weekend's event is No 1. "I want to get into the field," says Carlson. "If you ask me, I'd say I would be happy with No. 16, but, if that happens, I won't be happy with that. I'll want to be qualified higher, but I know it's one thing at a time."
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