Driver News: Carter Williams Heads to Lancaster GP in Contention for SKUSA PKC TaG Junior, S5 Shifter Championships
It’s been an exciting, hectic and successful summer for Carter Williams and it won’t slow down in the first weekend of fall. The 15-year-old from Clovis, Calif., will be running for two championships in the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, the sixth and final event of the Superkarts! USA California ProKart Challenge, then fly Sunday night to Venice, Italy, to compete in the Championkarts International Finale next week.
Williams will be going for his third straight championship in SKUSA’s TaG Junior class. He has a 93-point lead, 1,168-1,075, over Brenden Baker. Williams will be racing for back-to-back titles in S5 Junior Stock Moto. He’s second with 1,325 to Jarred Campbell’s 1,525.
The Phil Giebler Racing pilot won overall in the combined S5/S4/S3 shifter classes and was second to Baker in TaG Junior by.428-second in the 20-lap features on the .7-mile course laid out on the streets of downtown Lancaster a year ago.
“I crossed the finish line first two years ago (in TaG Junior), but was moved down to third for a driving infraction and finished second last year after being passed by Brenden Baker on the last lap, so this year I really want to cross the finish line first and wrap up my third straight championship,” Williams said.
Williams drove from the back of the grid to win in dramatic fashion in S5 last year.
Williams opened his summer run on at the Willow Springs Kart Track in Rosamond, running it backwards, on June 1 by finishing second in the features of TaG Junior and S5 shifter. He started on pole in TaG Junior lost the lead with carburetor problems with two to go. He was on the outside front row in S5 and mechanical problems dropped him to second.
The fifth and next-to-last round of SKUSA’s California PKC was at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, running the .69-mile track backwards, on Sept. 7. Williams won in S5 and was third in TaG Junior.
“It’s always fun coming back to our adopted home track, but the expectations are at their highest,” Ty Williams, Carter’s dad and mechanic said.
Williams qualified third in S5 and fifth in TaG Junior. After changes to the FA Karts’ setups, Williams ran ninth in the first heats and fourth in TaG Junior and second in S5 in the second heats.
“The kart felt great in TaG Junior for the first 10 laps, but started to get tight,” Williams said. “The kart kept getting tighter and (PGR) teammate Noah (Grey) was able to slide by with five laps to go. I nearly caught him at the end, but had to settle for third.”
Williams lined up on the front row and chased Campbell for 11 of the 20 laps.
“I was waiting for Jarred to slip up and on lap 12, I made my move and from there was able to pull away to a 2.5-second win.”
Williams traveled to Grand Junction Motor Speedway in Colorado for the SKUSA Pro Tour’s third and fourth events on July 20-21. He was second in S5 and 13th in TaG Junior on July 20 and third in S5 and fifth in TaG Junior on July 21.
Williams lined up last, the consequence of contact in the second heat, in the 24-kart field for the July 20 feature in TaG Junior.
“We fell to second in the S5 championship, but we’re only 55 points out,” Williams said. “TaG Junior is going to be a little tougher as we sit sixth, but anything is possible when you head to the SuperNationals. A lot of points can be made up.”
The SuperNationals are the fifth and final round of the SKUSA Pro Tour. It will be held Nov. 20-24 in a temporary course at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Williams completed his freshman year at Sanger High with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
“My first year in high school was a little tougher than I thought it was going to be, but I was glad to finish it with all A’s and taking all honors classes,” Williams said.
Williams also competed on the varsity swim, where he earned his first varsity letter, and junior varsity water polo teams at Sanger.
“Swimming and water polo are extremely important to me,” Williams said. “It not only keeps me in awesome racing shape, but it also is a blast to come home and blow off some steam in the pool after a high pressure racing weekend.”
Willams also played in the National Water Polo 18-and-under Junior Olympics for Sanger during the summer. Sanger qualified for the Nationals by placing 10th our of 32 teams in the Central California qualifier. Sanger finished seventh in the bronze division.
“To come against the best club teams in the United States and finish seventh in the bronze division was awesome,” Williams said.
After Lancaster, Williams’ next stop is Italy, where he’ll in the KFJ Academy class with a FIM KFW1 motor package at Pista Azzurra in Jesolo.
Williams won the all-expense paid trip for taking the PKC TaG Junior championship last year. Funding for it was provided by SKUSA owners Tom and Patti Kutscher and Jim Russell Karting Specialties.
“This is an absolute dream come true,” Williams said. “I cannot thank Tom and Patti Kutscher, SKUSA, Jim Russell Jr. and the people at Russell Karting Specialties for putting up this prize package. I can’t believe I will actually get a chance to drive a kart in Italy, it’s awesome.”