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In the Driver's Seat

In the Driver's Seat: Michael Womack

Lives in: Peoria, Arizona
Car number: 11

Michael Womack started racing in Southern California, moved to North Carolina to have more options, and decided the best opportunity this year was back on the West Coast with the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart.

In the Driver's Seat: Michael Womack

Michael Womack started racing in Southern California, moved to North Carolina to have more options, and decided the best opportunity this year was back on the West Coast with the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart.

Womack, who is 16, said the opportunity was presented to him by Blaine Perkins, another 16-year-old who has raced in the series, and Womack "will always thank him for this. He was asking me what my plans were. I said we really don't have any plans; we're looking to get into a bigger car, we just haven't found the right opportunity yet.

"He was like 'well, I'm going to be driving a (NASCAR) K&N car so why don't you come drive my car when I'm off?' That just opened the door right there. That was beautiful, because from then on I got to drive for (team owner) Mike Garcia full-time and it's been a blast ever since.

"Really it was just a great opportunity that Mike Garcia was able to give us. He's a great guy, his personality is awesome and I love his team. We decided to come out here, give it a try and see how we like it and hopefully move on to next year."

Womack began racing go-karts at 5, finished third in the country in the Rotax Nationals, spent some time in Bandoleros and stepped up to Legends Cars, which he still races on the East Coast. He's 18th in this year's national point standings in the Pro Asphalt division and 30th in the Pro Road Course division and will miss the Lucas Oil Modified event at Madera, California, October 8, to race in the Legends Nationals. But he'll be back for the series' final two events this year and all of next season, if things go according to plan.

Womack and his father, Michael, moved to North Carolina a couple of years ago and make their home in the Town of Troutman, which calls itself Lake Norman's Front Porch. But Womack is enrolled in a home school program through Sunland Christian School in Sylmar, California, and father and son spend so much time in airports and on airplanes they're on a first-name basis with most of the flight crews.

That doesn't figure to change in 2017, either, since the plan according to Womack is to run the full Lucas Oil Modified Series in the West, race Late Models in the East and build on what he's learned this season.

"It's been a great season," he said before the race at Kern County Speedway September 17. "We've learned a lot with just this whole series. I've had more fun in these cars than I've had in any other car.

"I've been told that there is an insane similarity (between Modifieds and Legends Cars), but personally I don't feel like there's much to that. Yes, both cars are over-powered and under-tired. But this is just a big car. There are really no similarities between a big car and a Legends car."

Womack said his most important lesson this season was "not something I just learned; it was something I had to re-learn. It was patience, in getting used to the car and learning how to drive the car. Now I think we've figured something out and we're going to be able to move forward as a team."

Womack said he began to feel like everything was coming together during the race weekend at West Valley City, Utah, in July and had a top 10 car until mechanical issues sidelined him early. But he built on that experience at Kern County, where he finished 19th on his first visit to the fast half-mile oval.

"It takes time, like anything else, and this is a really tough deal," he said. "I feel like the best drivers on the West Coast are in this series.

"It's so new to me. It just takes time, that's all it is."

MICHAEL WOMACK AT A GLANCE

Age: 16 (28 December 1999)
Lives in: Troutman, North Carolina
Marital status: Single
Occupation: Student
Car number: 3
Type of chassis: STR
Engine: Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Mike Garcia
Sponsors: Hixco:Trans by Hal; All Pro Coatings; Arce Racing Engines; Garcia Racing
Years in racing: 11
Divisions raced: Go-karts, Bandoleros, Legends Cars, Lucas Oil Modifieds
Series point standings: First year

Tracks

Havasu 95 SpeedwayHavasu 95 Speedway
Irwindale Event CenterIrwindale Event Center
Kern County RacewayKern County Raceway
Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayLas Vegas Motor Speedway
Madera SpeedwayMadera Speedway
Orange Show SpeedwayOrange Show Speedway
Rocky Mountain RacewayRocky Mountain Raceway
mod-tucson-rp-tsrtucson speedway logo tsr

 

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In the Driver's Seat

MICHAEL MITCHELL

Michael Mitchell

Lives in: Loomis, California
Car number: 77

Mike Mitchell got interested in racing when he was a boy. His dad owned race cars that others drove for him and to Mitchell it looked like something he’d like to try when he got old enough. By that time, however, his father had quit racing, so Mitchell turned to other things in his life.

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