Calvin Carlton: The Journey to Joining his Father on Track

Calvin Carlton: The Journey to Joining his Father on Track

It took Calvin Carlton until he was 30 years old to join his father, Tommy, on track. But now you can see them both regularly racing each other, such as in this weekend’s American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products events.

Besides taking out his father’s car out a couple times as a teen after the races for a few laps, Calvin never hit the track in a race car. That changed in 2021 at Rockcastle Speedway in Kentucky. He had waited his whole life for that moment.

“I’ve wanted to race since I was a kid, but Dad always made me earn everything I did,” Calvin said. “I helped him buy tires and fuel, etc., for him to race at Bristol [Motor Speedway in Tennessee]. When we got back, he offered to let me race it. I took him up on the offer.”

With his father guiding him, Calvin felt right at home in the late model.

“It was definitely a challenge, but it seemed natural,” said Calvin. “I’ve listened to Dad tell me how the car was reacting and how it felt my whole life.”

Now with his first taste of late model racing, Calvin wanted in. The deal in his father’s car was a one-time thing. However, Calvin’s propensity to help others would result in some help in return.

“I had helped Marty Carrier put together a car for Bristol, also,” Calvin said. “After I raced Dad’s car, I knew Marty had an old 1999 Rayburn swing-arm car sitting around. I offered to help him work on his car through the season if he let me put [the old car] together and race it. He agreed. So, me, Marty, and Dad put the ’99 Rayburn together and used Marty’s spare motor to race that season. Season ended short after about 12 races, because I was in a huge wreck.”

That wreck didn’t deter him. He bought a newer car from CJ Rayburn Race Cars, a 2015 four-bar car. During 2023 Florida Speedweeks at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, a bad crash destroyed it. He then upgraded to a Longhorn chassis. Now, the Carltons are a frequent sight at races.

“It’s awesome to see him compete with the level of racers as I do now in three short seasons,” said proud father Tommy. “He’s become a really good competitor. We race each other hard but with respect.”

You can catch Calvin Carlton and Tommy Carlton this weekend. They’ll be competing in a doubleheader for the American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products. On Friday, May 17, they’ll head to Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Kentucky. The next night, Saturday, May 18, they’ll race at Lake Cumberland Speedway in Burnside, Kentucky.

Outside Groove Note of Transparency: Outside Groove is a sponsor of the American All-Star Series. The American All-Star Series paid for the production of this article. The content is not subject to the approval of the American All-Star Series.