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Young racer debuts on the small screen

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Jan 21, 2018 at 8:13 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Carter Davison made history at Lonesome Pine (Va.) Raceway in 2017. Now fans have a chance to follow the young Elizabethton driver’s record-setting season.

Davison, 13, wrapped the Mod 4 division title back in August to become the youngest champion ever in the 45-year history of the track. On Saturday night, part of that journey in the No. 57 Ford was shown on the small screen.

“Left Turn Livin’, ” a new reality show about the young racer and his family, debuted on the local CW station on Saturday night. A party was held at Beef O’ Brady’s in Elizabethton to celebrate the show’s premiere.

“It’s a little nerve-racking,” Davison said. “I get more nervous with this than driving my race car. I guess I’ve got to get used to it if I’m going to keep going with this.”

Davison and his father, Dean, recently had a call with the head of NASCAR driver marketing where they discussed how Carter is progressing in the sport. He is on NASCAR’s watch list of top 50 future candidates for the NASCAR Next program. There are more steps for Davison to be seriously considered as a NASCAR Next driver. He would need to run a full season in the NASCAR K&N Series, as a strength of schedule like those used to judge college basketball and college football teams is part of the process.

He’s taking those steps toward those goals and this season is scheduled to race in the Limited Late Model division at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, called the “Birthplace of NASCAR Stars,” and the home track of such legendary drivers as Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett and Harry Gant.

“I think it’s going to be really fun,” he said. “I’ve only been to Hickory once, and that was to watch. It will be good to get experience on that track. It’s the same asphalt where those NASCAR legends raced at, so that’s pretty cool.”

Davison has been a cool customer himself. He started out racing BMX bikes at age 5, winning 11 times in 16 races. He moved to go-karts a year later and showed the same aptitude for winning. From 2011-13, he scored 100 victories in 136 starts.

He had top-three finishes in all 22 races in 2012, which led to his second Tennessee State Championship and ultimately a ride with NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler’s go-kart team. In that top-notch equipment, Davison won the season-opening race for the WKA World Championship Series in Daytona.

After that 2013 season, he took a couple of seasons off to refocus on academic pursuits and other activities. He returned to the driver’s seat in Bandolero race cars in 2016, when he won three times in three races. He also did a few starts in a Legends car at Kingsport Speedway to get used to shifting with a manual transmission before moving to the full-size stock cars.

Outside of racing, Davison has been on the A honor roll, first at Providence Academy and now at T.A. Dugger Junior High, since 2011. In 2015, he was the Math Olympics Champion and in 2016 was honored with the President’s Academic Award.

The television show focuses on both racing and his home life with his father, his mother, Heather, and sisters Cayden and Cami. For the young star, it’s a little different seeing himself as the lead in a TV program.

After introductions, the first episode concentrated on Carter getting started on BMX bikes, his father racing Legends cars and the family serving as Christian missionaries in Alaska.

“It’s pretty special to have everything recorded,” Davison said. “It’s also nerve-racking to watch us on TV. But, I think it turned out pretty good.”

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