Carter Williams Looking for Home-Track Success in Modesto Grand Prix
Carter Williams of Clovis, Calif., is midway through a transition season from the junior classes of karting to the top national level. Williams next stop is the Save Mart Supermarkets Modesto Grand Prix on Aug. 1-3 for the SuperKarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals, an event run through the downtown streets where he hopes to deliver his finest finish of the year.
Williams has delivered promising results in his rookie campaign running in S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, the shifter-kart class that is slightly slower than S1 Pro Stock Moto. He was caught up in wrecks in the heat races and had to start at the back at the opening SKUSA Pro Tour event on May 3-4 in Dallas. Williams drove from 38th to 11th in the Saturday feature and 37th to 16th in the Sunday feature.
Williams also has driven in the four single-event rounds of SKUSA’s California ProKart Challenge. The S2 karts run with S1 in the ProKart Challenge. He’s been fourth twice, a fifth and a DNF in S2 and has best results of sixth and seventh overall.
“It’s been fun moving up to S2 and racing against the S1 drivers, too,” Williams said. ‘It’s been a whole new experience. We’ve struggled a bit, but it’s been fun and new. We knew when we moved up, it would be tougher because of the older and more experienced drivers in the shifter classes. I feel like we’ve made a huge improvement from the first race of the year and as we move forward, I feel more comfortable in the S2.
“Modesto is like a home race for us, it’s the closest to our home that we have, and it’s definitely exciting to go there. These definitely will be big races for us. We’re hoping for a win and a top-five would be awesome.”
The junior-to-be at Sanger High, where he’s on the varsity water polo and swimming teams and has a 4.1 grade point average, was the SKUSA California ProKart TaG Junior champion for the past three seasons. Williams also raced in S5 Junior Stock Moto and was runner-up in the Pro Tour and ProKart championships a year ago.
Williams, who will turn 16 on Aug. 2, was awarded the Lancaster (Calif.) Grand Prix/SKUSA scholarship, worth $11,500, last year. It pays for his entry fees, tires and fuel for the SKUSA Pro Tour and California ProKart this season. Williams also has an engine sponsor from the Musgrave Racing Company.
Williams is in his third straight year driving for the team owned by Phil Giebler, the 2007 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
“Carter has been adapting very well to the very competitive class of S2,” Giebler said. “There are a lot of drivers trying to prove they are ready for S1 next year and it’s a big step up from the junior category of S2. There’s a lot more competition in S2. Carter showed that he is the driver to beat in the rain this year when he topped the charts in the S1 and S2 combined class in the SKUSA ProKart race at Willow Springs.
“Carter is holding his own in the adult class and very eager to improve. He has a good teammate in Connor Wagner and we are excited to see his progress throughout the year.”
Wagner was the SKUSA California ProKart champion and won the SKUSA Pro Tour SuperNationals, one of the world’s most competitive and prestigious karting races, in 2013 in S2. He’s moved up to S1 this season.
“Connor spent four years in S2 and was very good at it,” Williams said. “He’s been very beneficial to me.”
Williams’ S2 kart is 45 pounds heavier at 385 pounds than the S5 kart and has about 10 more horsepower.
“The weight of the kart hasn’t been a problem because we have more horsepower,” Williams said. “But the power range is different from what we had in S5, where it was more consistent. I’m having to learn a whole another range and it’s been kind of a struggle. We’ve been trying a bunch of different gear ratios. We’re still figuring it out.”
The inaugural Modesto Grand Prix begins with practice on Friday, Aug. 1, in the afternoon. The event has full rounds on Saturday, Aug. 2, and Sunday, Aug. 3. Qualifying begins at 1 p.m. PDT and feature races start at 7 p.m. PDT on both days.
Carter Williams 2014 feature results
Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals, Dallas (Texas) Karting Complex–S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, Round 1, May 3, 11th; Round 2, May 4, 16th.
Superkarts! USA California ProKart Challenge S1 Pro Stock Moto/S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto– Round 1, Feb. 1, Buttonwillow Kart Track, 25th overall (DNF); Round 2, March 1, Willow Springs Kart 6th overall, 4th S2; Round 3, March 29, Adams Kart Track, Riverside, 7th overall, 4th S2; Round 4, June 7, Simraceway Kart Track, Sonoma, 15th overall, 5th S2.