Carter Koop is no stranger to racing success.
As a young child, the 17-year-old Koop dominated in the North Iowa go-kart circuit. In the Koop family’s Rockwell home, Carter has about 70 trophies by his own estimate, around half of which are first-place trophies.
Koop, a West Fork High School junior, has moved beyond go-karts now, but is still having plenty of triumphant moments on the track.
After coming in first place in both his heat race and the A Feature in the Hobby Stocks Division at Boone Speedway on Monday, Koop will race from the front row at IMCA Super Nationals Big Dance race on Saturday night.
“It’s nice to have the confidence back, that I can go out and win this,” Koop said. “I can go out, lead, and win because it's a whole other caliber of competition. The Hobby Stock division is one of the most competitive, especially up here in the Northern Iowa area.”
Koop’s family is one with a deep love of racing. His father, Weston, won the Hobby Stocks Mason City track championship in 2014, and also won the USRA National Championship Feature Race in Kansas City in 2016.
With his knowledge and success on the track, Weston is thrilled with how this season has gone for Carter. After switching from go-karts to B-Mods in 2017, Carter struggled for a while.
“Those were weird in the way you’d drive them, because they’re not like a normal car,” Carter said. “The way the rear suspension is set up, it was almost like rear-steer. It was controlled by the throttle which was weird for me.”
Koop dabbled with racing Hobby Stocks over the past two years and finally made the full switch before this season. So far, Carter has thrived.
After winning his heat race on Monday night, Carter took control of the Class A feature race right from the beginning.
“We got going and every ounce of anxiety that I had in my stomach just kind of vanished,” Carter said. “I was focused on that. I took the lead, once I got out there, I was leading pretty much the entire race.”
After a few seasons of relative frustration in racing b-mods, a return to the winner's circle has been a welcome development for the Koop racing team.
“It’s been satisfying, especially lately,” Weston Koop said. “At first, I realized that I probably should have put him in one of those in the beginning. I was hopeful that the transition from go-kart to b-mod would be easier for him because of the steering and tighter car. But he really has taken to these a lot easier.”
Weston and Carter both admit that, at times, racing can cause them to butt heads. But for the most part, sharing the sport they both love has brought them closer together, especially lately.
Winning definitely makes things better.
“It’s definitely a father and son relationship,” Weston said. “We have our good days and bad moments, as well. Every day is a good day to be around each other, but we have our moments where I think we should do something and he thinks we should do something else.
“Overall, I think we have bonded more this year then we have in years past.”
It’s a family tradition to win races, and at just 17-years old, it looks like Carter has plenty of time to keep cluttering up the family’s trophy case. After the way things have gone lately, team confidence is at an all-time high.
“If we can run good, clean, smooth laps, we’ll do well,” Weston said. “Obviously, I want him to finish first. We must first finish before we finish first, but he’s got a good car, and he’s getting better as a driver. He’s got as good a chance as anybody else there.”
Koop will race at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the Hobby Stock Main Event at Boone Speedway.
Shane Lantz covers sports for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Shane.Lantz@GlobeGazette.com, or by phone at 641-421-0526. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneMLantz.
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