From the passenger seat to the driver’s seat, Spring Mountain gave Monica Carlson a place to develop her passion.
Monica Carlson can get a little car sick. Her solution was to start racing. “I went out to some racing and driving events with my husband and tried some ride-along experiences,” she recalls. “I’d feel car sick, but the instructors noticed that I was still having a good time, so they suggested that I try to do some driving myself.”
It began with some high-speed straight-line stuff at places like The Mojave Mile, where she recorded a 231mph trap speed. But soon that wasn’t enough. Monica wanted to try her hand at circuit racing. She began with track day cars and a couple of years later was racing a Radical SR3 1500 as part of the Club Spring Mountain Race Series.
Monica and her husband, Terry, first came to Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in 2009, when the facility was still in its infancy, to watch some friends race. Around the same time, the couple were considering options for relocating from Southern California, and Nevada was among the places up for consideration. They were soon won over by Spring Mountain and its burgeoning potential, so they ended up settling in nearby Pahrump.
The move was completed in Dec. 2011, and by Jan. 2012 they were Spring Mountain members. Now, they spend most weekends and the occasional weeknight at the club.
“Spring Mountain is as much a social experience as it is a driving experience,” says Monica. “We go there to have dinner, hang out by the fire pit and see friends in the evening.”
The camaraderie extends on to the race track as much as it does off. When Monica’s not racing herself, she’s often spotting for a number of the track’s members.
“I know all the circuit configurations quite well (Spring Mountain has more than 50 of them) and a lot of the members’ driving styles, too, so they trust having me on the other end of their radio,” she says, adding that she also often helps members with tire pressure adjustments in the hot pit.
But Monica and Terry didn’t become members at Spring Mountain to stand on the sidelines. In 2014 she ran a Radical SR3 1500 and promptly finished in second-place overall in the Spring Mountain Racing Rookie Series. As one of the few female racers currently at the club, she more than held her own.
“At first I was a little worried about the competition. There are a lot of ‘Type A’ personalities in this place and when we’re all on track it’s pretty aggressive, but always respectful,” says Monica, who holds the honor of being the only woman to podium in the Light Sports Racer regular class.
Whether off the track or on, Monica is just one of the racers. Recently, more of the club’s female members have started getting more active on track with the driving schools and lapping days. It’s only a matter of time before more of them take the leap into wheel-to-wheel competition.
When it comes to Monica’s best experiences, beating husband Terry ranks at the top.
“It was actually one of my first races, and Terry was so far out in front, while I was running second,” Monica explains. “Suddenly, I see him slowing on the straight and my spotter is telling me to go! There were only a couple of laps left, but I passed him and on the final lap the spotter tells me not to look in my mirrors, but just to focus on the final corners. Terry was right behind me trying for the pass at Turn 7, but I was able to hold him off. We’d practiced that before and it was gratifying to pull it off in a race.”
Whether racing together, getting some track time individually, or just hanging with friends, it’s all part of a fun and satisfying day in the life of the Carlsons at Spring Mountain.
An Oasis of Fun and Speed
Club Spring Mountain Race Series members enjoy turn-key car service, whether it’s a personal drive day or race series weekend. With a simple phone call, your racecar can be prepped and fueled to get out on track upon arrival at the resort.
The Club Spring Mountain Race Series is open to members only. It features classes for Light Sport Racers like the Radical SR3, SR8 and Wolf GB08SM Turbo, as well as a class for Mazda Miatas.
To learn more about membership levels and the race series, please visit springmountainmotorsports.com