News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 15, 2013

TRACKSIDE: Terre Haute's Carmichael enjoying strong spring in modifieds, stocks

Joe Buckles
The Tribune-Star

PUTNAMVILLE — It might have been cold and blustery at Charleston Speedway on Saturday night, but for Terre Haute driver Kenny Carmichael the evening couldn’t have been more pleasant.

Carmichael outclassed a solid field in the United Midwest Promoters sanctioned modified feature to continue his torrid early-season success.

Starting from outside the front row, Carmichael jumped out to an early lead and was never seriously challenged in the 25-lap main event in notching his second feature win of the season

It’s been one of those years for the veteran racer, one where everything seems to be falling in place. In his seven races to date, he has yet to finish out of the top five in feature finishes.

Over a lengthy short track driving career Carmichael has encountered the best and worst of times and he’s learned learned quickly to capitialize on the moment. Success in short track racing can indeed be fleeting.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the year has gone thus far. But all that can all go away in a heartbeat. It really makes you appreciate those nights when you haven’t tore anything up and there’s not a mark on your car,” Carmichael said of his fast start to the 2013 campaign.

“Everything just sorta played out right,” he added.

“We qualified fourth quick, got second in our heat got a good jump after the yellows. I couldn’t believe Mark [Grayless] kept giving hand signals that showed I was gaining on the field. I kept thinking hows that possible. I was smooth on the three restarts and was able to keep my rhythm,” recalled Carmichael.

“It was one of those deals when nothing broke. It’s a lot easier when you’re running out front and hitting your marks. When you’re not having to worry about the guys behind you.”

With wins at Charleston and North Vernon earlier in April, Carmichael currently ranks  25th in UMP national points and third in Indiana state points.

With the Action Track slated to host the UMP modifieds next Wednesday in conjuction with the Hulman Classic, Carmichael is hopeful good fortunes continues to fall his way at his “hometrack.”

“With the way we’re running I’m really looking forward to the Terre Haute race,” expressed Carmichael. “ Everybody wants to win but a top five or top 10 is more realistic. I’ve been fortunate to have won there in the stocks and had a couple seconds in the sprints. Still it would be nice to get another one [feature win] at home.”

Carmichael, who owns and operates a muffler repair shop on the Terre Haute northside, enjoys the opportunity to be able to complete at different ovals across the country.

“You don’t get to be a better race driver running the same race track every night. We like to travel when we get the chance,” said the 49-year-old Carmichael, who has been racing since he was 15.

A two-time track champion in the sprints, the second-generation racer now devotes his time running the under appreciated mods and stocks.

“I thought it might be easier running the modifieds after I had to get out of the sprints because of my back problems but believe it’s not. It can cost as much running the mods because of the engines and the competition is ever bit as close as it is in the sprints,” added Carmichael.

“ I know there are some fans who don’t like when the mods share a show with the sprints but they aren’t real race fans. The promoters have done a lot to improve our shows. We’ve gone with radio receivers which speed up lineup restarts and they’ve shortened the distance of the races. Our shows are as close and competitive as the sprints,” he said.

Looking at the big picture, Carmichael is optimistic he can add a couple more track championships to an impressive resume that lists 15 track titles including the past three in the sportsmans class at Lincoln Park Speedway.

“It’s always nice going to the race track and knowing you have a chance to win. That’s all you can ask for. Things are going our way,” voiced Carmichael.

 

Joe Buckles can be reached at jbuckles4@frontier.com.