A few years ago Brandon Carlson put his racing gloves and helmet away. He decided to focus on other things outside of racing, like starting a sign company. But now he’s dusting the cobwebs off the helmet so he can go racing again.
Carlson is making his return to Super Late Model racing on Friday night in the Southern Super Series event at his home track of Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
“Dad and I have had the car and we’ve had other people driving it,” Carlson told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “But it just worked out to where I found some extra sponsorship from Deep South Cranes, Anderson Subaru, and Premier Tinting, and I found the time to be able to do it. We got the business going and it’s going well now so now is a good time to get back in the car.”
The car that he’ll be running has been raced a lot recently, most notably by Johanna Long who is making a return to the NASCAR XFinity Series this year. That’s how this opportunity arose, according to Brandon’s father, Scott, a former Snowflake 100 winner.
“Johanna Long was driving the car and when she announced that she was going to go NASCAR again, Brandon expressed interest in driving the car again,” Scott Carlson said. “That’s fine with me.”
Making his return at Pensacola is a smart place to do it. In addition to it being his home track, he’s had plenty of success there, most notably a win in the 2008 Snowflake 100.
But his father is quick to point out that things in 2015 are very different than they were in 2008.
“I think he’s very capable,” said Scott. “But a lot of stuff has changed since he drove four or five years ago. He was really successful when he was driving before, but a lot of stuff has changed since then in the racing technical world with the way the cars drive and how you have to drive them. It’ll take him a couple races to figure that out and then I think he’ll be right back in the groove.”
Brandon isn’t so sure it will take a couple races. After all, he is a race car driver and he hopes to find success again right away.
“I tested the car before the Snowball Derby a little bit and it was like riding a bike,” Brandon said. “I just got back in it and I was good to go.”
Even though he feels he’ll be “good to go,” he’s still planning on taking things slow as far as his schedule is concerned. He said he plans to run at Five Flags a few times before venturing away to other Southern Super Series races.
“We just want to go out there and have fun and win races,” he said. “If we can expand out then that would be fun, but nothing’s planned.”
Winning is something Carlson is confident he can do, even with the lengthy absence from the seat of a race car, and the strength of the Southern Super Series competition.
“The objective is to win races,” he said. “That’s what I go out there for. I expect no less than a top five, but I go out there to win every time.”
However, his father’s expectations are a bit safer than that.
“If he can get a top five that would be a good feather in our cap for the type of competition that’s down here,” Scott said. “I would say maybe a top 10 to start out with.”
-Southern Super Series Press Release.
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com