WHEATLAND, Mo. – Tanner Carrick makes no bones about it. The 17-year-old open-wheel rising star wants to someday become a standout in pavement racing.
“That’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” the California native said.
But for now, patience has to be a big part of Carrick’s game.
He continues to hone his craft and build his resume in the dirt midget and sprint-car world, with the next step being Saturday night’s eighth annual Impact Signs Awnings & Wraps Open Wheel Showdown at Lucas Oil Speedway.
For Carrick, who drives for the powerhouse Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League, it’s a return to the site of his first national-series midget victory.
One year ago at Lucas Oil Speedway, Carrick dominated the field in the Open Wheel Showdown main event.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back there. I’m super excited,” Carrick said. “I’m ready to get there and try to make it two wins.”
Carrick said past success can be a big help, especially at a track that he thinks suits his driving skills.
“It definitely helps my confidence coming into the weekend,” Carrick said. “Especially since I got my first national midget win there, not only winning by a little bit but winning by a pretty big stretch. That helps me out a ton coming into the weekend.
“I kind of like the bigger tracks, getting up on top and running around there.”
Carrick is following a similar racing path as guys like Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson, among others, as having started at a young age racing Outlaw Karts and working his way up through the ranks.
In 2017, Carrick got a call from Kunz with an offer to drive for the legendary, Indiana-based team.
While he still drives his family-owned sprint car on occasion – with a recent win back home in California – the focus now is on the midget for Kunz’s team in the POWRi and USAC series.
Carrick said Kunz is an “amazing” mentor that he learns from constantly.
“He’s a great guy. He’s been around forever in racing and he knows what he’s talking about,” Carrick said. “Just listening to his advice, it helps you a ton. If you listen, he will guide you in the right direction.”
Goals for the season are to win points titles in both the POWRi and USAC divisions. Short of that, he wants to finish in the top three with as many wins as he can get.
Carrick knows that production on the track will speed up the process of reaching his ultimate goal of pavement success that guys like Larson and Bell already have reached.
“We just have to take it one step at a time and do what we know we can do,” he noted.