WHEATLAND, Mo. — official track release —
It was quite a year for Kenny Carroll.
The veteran Camdenton, Missouri driver not only beat opponents with four tires attached to the dirt, but one with three wheels and air beneath its wings.
Shortly after celebrating his championship in the Carson’s Corner NAPA Auto Parts Factory Stock division at Lucas Oil Speedway, Carroll took on an airplane at September’s Camdenton Air Show. Reaching a peak speed of 146 miles-per-hour, Carroll prevailed in the rather unusual car-vs-plane competition that has drawn plenty of YouTube attention.
“It was really, really intense,” Carroll said, noting that his team had to quickly fix a broken rear-end gear after the first run. “It was quite a day.”
It was quite a 2015 for Carroll, who ran away with track championship on the Lucas Oil Speedway dirt. He won four features and finished 50 points in front of runner-up Chip Shaddox of Wheatland.
Beating the airplane, while a cool novelty, didn’t compare to the bragging rights that accompanied his first track championship since 2009.
“It meant a lot,” Carroll said of his title. “To come back and do it again a few years later, it was pretty vindicating. I think I was the first one to ever win it twice in that class.”
Carroll, 39, started racing Bombers on the pavement at I-44 Speedway in 1995. He also dabbled briefly in Late Models at the old Wheatland Speedway, but has remained committed to the Factory Stock division in recent years.
“They always were changing the rules in the other classes and that makes it where you can’t travel to other tracks,” Carroll said. “I stuck with the Factory Stocks, which is basically a 1980s late model with a cheap tire rule. That’s my favorite class.”
The Factory Stock division will be re-named Street Stock next season at Lucas Oil Speedway, giving further uniformity to rules in that division throughout the region. That could open the door for Carroll to add other speedways to his weekend plans.
Carroll, who runs his own excavating business in Camdenton, raced almost exclusively at Lucas the past season after getting off to a strong start in the points chase. He combined consistency with the four trips to victory lane, and said a fast start — on the new dirt surface installed last spring — was the key to his success.
“We adjusted to the new dirt faster than a lot of the other guys did,” he said. “We had a lot more traction earlier in the year that’s not normally there and we were able to use that to our advantage.”
Carroll joked that he might skip opening night in 2016 just so he won’t be consumed by points racing. With a title in sight after the good start, Carroll opted to race only at Lucas and preserve his equipment last season.
But either way, he plans to travel more next year.
“I would like to not worry so much about points,” he said. “That takes some of the fun out of it. I’d like to win a bunch of races. That’s the main goal.”
Whatever his schedule, Carroll’s team will be back intact, led by chassis-builder Josh Franklin whom Carroll calls “my right-hand man.”
“We have a new chassis and hope to hit the ground running,” Carroll said. “Wherever you unload the car, you want everybody to worry about you. That’s the No. 1 goal.”
CREDIT: Lucas Oil Speedway