Through a friend, Carmichael met up with Ken Schrader, and the two began talking – about racing and the future. This week, Carmichael told Speed 51 that he will compete for the full NCWS East season with Schrader Racing. It’s a big step in what could be one of the most publicized career changes in racing in recent years.
“We had kind of been in the fold there when the merger happened. I met Ken and we started talking. One thing led to another and here we are today,” Carmichael explained. “I’m really excited about it. This was always the plan when I signed with Ginn Racing. This was the agenda to go to the Camping World East with the long term goal of going to the Nationwide Series or the Trucks.”
Rumors circulating the internet had Carmichael’s deal part of a bigger plan with Hendrick Motorsports, but Carmichael was quick to clear the air.
“The technical support is there from Hendrick if we ever need it, but I’m driving for Ken Schrader Racing. It’s nice to know you have an organization to fall back on if the occasion ever comes up, but as far as technical support, I have all the confidence in the guys at Schrader Racing.”
Carmichael, who will serve as a team mate to Jamie Hayes, is taking his career change very seriously. There are critics who worry Carmichael’s comfort zone behind the protection of a stock car as opposed to a motorcycle may lead to an aggressive, take-no-prisoners style, but Carmichael just shrugs when that suggestion comes up.
“I didn’t get to where I was by being stupid and taking chances. I want to keep the fenders on my car. The last thing other drivers have to worry about is me spinning them out or wrecking them. There’s a lot of money put into these teams and I’m not there to tear up the cars. I just want people to give me a chance so to speak,” he said.
Still, his learning curve will be under a magnifying glass. He’s well aware of it, and chooses to ignore it.
“I have a great opportunity here,” he added. “I’m here because I’m a racer. All of it is going to be
an adjustment and the competitiveness is going to be hard. Just trying to adapt my half a year
experience with their years of experience is a test. Learning can be easy but applying it will be the hardest. That’s the fun of it. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of all of this.”
Last month, Carmichael worked on that learning curve by participating in Speedweeks at New
Smyrna Speedway. He finished eighth overall out of 44 cars in the Super Late Model points. His
biggest accomplishment, he felt, was his sixth place finish in the final 100-lapper.
“I did good,” he said about the overall experience of Speedweeks. “I didn’t qualify as well as I
would have liked. I got spun out in the 100 lapper (the final Saturday night) and came back up to
sixth. That was pretty cool. It’s pretty amazing how much you learn racing nine nights in a row.”
But now he’s ready to shift his focus to the NASCAR Camping World Series East. The team will
begin testing immediately in preparation for what they hope to be a skill-building season.
The Camping World East Series season starts on April 19th at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC).