Racing to the gold mine

One student's passion for Charlotte extends onto the racetrack

| September 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

Carson Poindexter’s No. 49 car. Photo by Sam Palian

Many students grow up having a dream school, and for Carson Poindexter of Huntersville, NC that school is UNC Charlotte. Carson, who graduated from Lake Norman Charter this past spring has always wanted to be a 49er and this fall he will finally get to be one.

When asked about his love for the University he quickly responds with a smile and explains that he is very interested in Charlotte’s engineering program, particularly in motorsports.

What is unique about Carson’s interest is the level he takes it to and how he shows his fandom for the Charlotte 49ers.

He chose to race the #49 car to show his love for the Niners in the Bojangles Summer Shootout races at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This past Independence Day when fans were welcomed down onto the track to meet the drivers and get their autographs after the races, he was pleasantly surprised by the large number of fans who made a point to tell him how much they loved his 49ers themed car.

Poindexter began racing with a Summer Youth League at Victory Lane karting in Charlotte in 2012, eventually obtaining a championship win in the league and from then on, he raced with a Winter Youth league through VLK as well. He then began racing in the Bojangles Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway in his #49 in 2014, tallying up five second-place finishes along with one fourth-place finish in the bandolero Beginner Bandits division.

Carson also began racing with Cram Racing Enterprises (CRE) in 2014. Cram Racing was started by Kevin Cram, a Nascar crew chief from 1998 to 2008 who then decided to focus on helping kids and their families pursue their racing desires.

In the 2015 Summer Shootout Carson moved up to the Legends Young Lions Division and ended his summer season with a third place points finish in that division.

“Legends drive very different than bandos. In the legends you have to keep pushing on and off of the gas, and letting off the gas to turn more. Bandos are more lightweight, they accelerate a little faster, so they were a lot easier to drive than the legends are,” Poindexter said.

He was racing bandoleros up until that year when he moved up to legends and then in 2016, when he moved up to the Semi Pro Division, he would then be racing a #49 legend for both the Summer Shootout races and the Winter Heats. Carson has since been racing in the Semi Pro Division at Charlotte Motor Speedway in his Charlotte themed #49 legends car.

The switch from bandoleros to legends was largely because he was simply getting older and needed to move on to a new division.

“Legends drive very different than bandos. In the legends you have to keep pushing on and off of the gas, and letting off the gas more often to turn. Bandos are more lightweight, they accelerate a little faster, so they were easier to drive than the legends,” Poindexter said.

Carson had quite impressive seasons when driving a bandolero in 2014 and then a legend in 2015, but his past two years in the Semi Pro Division have not been quite as noteworthy, with several finishes within the last five cars of seventeen to twenty-two cars in the first few races of the 2017 Summer Shootout season.

By the fourth round he was in fourteenth of twenty-six in points with 203 points, but in the final point standings of this summer season, he finished thirteenth of twenty-six with 299 points in the Semi-Pro Division.

Beside legends cars being more difficult to drive than bandoleros and this beingCarson’s third year in the new car, he largely attributes the change in success to his mindset.

“I lay down decent lap times alone, but during actual races I think I sort of anticipate the wrecks too much,” Poindexter said.

Although he knows it can be good to be cautious when racing and will certainly continue to do so, he does also hope to become a little more aggressive in the field.

Carson doesn’t have a Legends win under his belt yet, but he has been and intends to continue to improve and work hard to get one and maybe more.

Carson’s support of UNC Charlotte seems to be almost as great as his family’s support of him and his racing. His mother Selah and his sisters Kendall and Miranda spend their time in the pits with Carson and other team members of Cram Racing Enterprises (CRE), the team Carson is a part of, as well as in the pit suites watching Carson and other racers throughout the night. His father Kenneth certainly supports him in the same way, but through CRE their young drivers as well as some of the family members of the racers, including Kenneth are sure to pay attention to what those working on the vehicles are doing and learn as much as they can.

As he is now a Niner, it shouldn’t be too much longer before Carson strikes gold and wins a legends race.

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