The winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout has been a phenom in Spec Miata for several years
Michael Carter’s racing life could have gone very differently. Coming to a crossroads where one path led to Late Models on dirt ovals and the other led to Spec Miata, he chose wisely. Now, that Spec Miata path led him to the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, where he came out on top to win a full scholarship for the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
“The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Shootout,” Carter admits. “It’s been my one goal all along.”
Carter’s journey started in quarter midgets, even before he was old enough to race. His father painted a track in the parking lot of his auto repair business so he could practice. Then once Carter turned 5, he was racing in places like New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and Salisbury N.C. – the latter in the middle of NASCAR country, so Carter was racing against kids of NASCAR stars as well as future NASCAR racers. Next came a dirt oval car built from a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Carter dominated in that form of racing. Then it came time to choose a direction.
“I had done some ChumpCar races,” he says. “We had always had Spec Miata in the back of our minds, because of the Mazda ladder. We figured if I was going to go pro, that was the place to start. Plus, it’s the best root you can get. I’ve been racing Spec Miata for the last four seasons and it’s pretty incredible to see where I’ve come from.”