On September 4, 2022, in his first race ever, 14 year old Nolan Walker jumped into a Junior Mini Cup car and calmly posted a fourth place finish at Carteret County Speedway to earn 7-championship points. A promising start to a young man’s racing career.
The decision to jump into the world of race car driving actually began months earlier when Walker attended one of four week long Carteret County Speedway Kids Racing Camps held over the summer. Kids ages 7 to 15 learned about auto racing from the pavement up!
Some students had never thought about driving a race car while for others, the camps were a dream come true.
“The camp taught me all about being competitive,” said Walker who added, “I learned the racing terminology and all about the flags.”
Indeed, each camp week began with the basics and ended with a 10-lap race in go-karts. They also got to meet veteran drivers and by the end of the camp week, Walker had the bug!
Finding a Junior Mini Cup car to buy and race was the next hurdle and that’s where Mom took the checkered flag!
“My mom found a mini cup car for sale on Facebook” Walker told us. The car was in Conway, South Carolina and that’s where this search took an interesting twist!
GPS instructed the young Walker and his family to Watson Road. GPS then said their destination was just 4 tenths of a mile down Watson Road. Just so happens that Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway is a 4/10th of a mile oval.
Nolan had previously told his pit crew, Mom and Dad, he wanted his car to be number 7. The car in Conway was already painted number 7!
“Talk about everything being meant to be,” said crew chief and dad Bruce Walker.
The next thing Nolan knew, he was at Carteret Speedway coming for green for real! “I was excited and nervous and wasn’t sure how the track would feel at night,” said Nolan. That was especially true after Walker spun out in qualifying. “I certainly learned the limits of the car with that spinout,” Walker added.
Walker would race to a fourth place finish, good for a solid 7-points moving him into 10th place in the season standings after just one race. Certainly still a long way to the top of the standings where Colby Gurganus leads the Junior Mini Cup pack but it was a great start. Walker will try to close the gap this Saturday as the Junior Mini Cups are part of the lineup for the Bobby Watson Memorial.
Just for the record, Michael Bivens, another summer race camp student also in the Junior Mini Cup field, is currently 4th in the overall standings as the Carteret County Speedway Campers continue to make their mark at America’s Nicest Short Track!
Racing begins Saturday an hour earlier at 6 pm. Find all the details at our website: carteretspeedway.com