Teenage racing phenom Mini Tyrrell recently picked up his first top-five in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour, and now he’s got his sights set on victory in Saturday’s Crystal Coast 125 at Carteret County Speedway – a track he has run well at in the past.
Tyrrell, 14, from Manassas, Virginia, picked up three second place finishes at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County in 2018 – including a runner-up finish in the Solid Rock Carriers 150 last July. This weekend, he will be returning to Carteret County fresh off his best career CARS Tour finish, a fourth at Dominion (Va.) Raceway last month, extending a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes.
“I think we’re going to do just fine,” Tyrrell said. “We’ll see obviously. We’ve got to stay focused and, obviously, we’re competing against the best Late Model Stock Car drivers on the East Coast. I expect that we will finish in the top-10 again. I would love to keep this streak going. A top-five or top-three finish would be fantastic.”
While Tyrrell, a young driver who is humble in nature, aims for a top-five finish, he knows a win at Carteret County is certainly possible.
“I think, if we can get the win, that would be incredible,” Tyrrell remarked. “We’ve really got to stay focused. I’m not going into the race expecting that I’m going to win. We’ll see how it pans out. Qualifying will have a big effect on how this race is going to play out.”
Because Carteret County Speedway is a flat track, passing another competitor will not come easy. However, Tyrrell has, once before, been able to race up through the field. In last July’s Solid Rock Carriers 150, he raced his way to a runner-up finish after starting the 150-lap race in the 11th position.
“That race was very difficult for us,” Tyrrell stated. “We had motor issues all weekend. We qualified, went up to race, and she raced like a scolded dog. It went from 11th to second in 125 laps. We had a great car that night and I was very proud of that finish.”
Tyrrell has been looking forward to returning to Carteret County ever since the checkered flag fell at Dominion Raceway in June. When he climbed out of the car at Dominion, he immediately looked ahead to Carteret and, in the moment, told himself he would win in the Crystal Coast 125.
“It boosted our team’s confidence,” Tyrrell explained. “Since we introduced our new car to the family, taking it to Dominion and running well with it was very good for us. We’re on a strict budget. We didn’t have the greatest car last year, but it was a fantastic car and ran really well with us. Just to have this newer car has boosted our confidence. As soon as I got out of the car at Dominion, I said, ‘I’m going to win at Carteret.’ I was saying, I know the track, I know it’s a great place, I know what I’m doing, I’m ready to win there with my team.”
Winning at Carteret County, which Tyrrell often calls a second home, would be an emotional one. The Tyrrell family became good friends with track visionary Bobby Day Watson, who passed away last October. If Tyrrell were to win on Saturday, the win would be for Bobby.
“Losing Bobby was really difficult,” Tyrrell explained. “I know he loved us dearly and we loved him. I’ve never seen a racetrack owner come to us on test day and spend a whole two hours with us showing us the track. He really made us feel like we were wanted and welcome. If I won this race, it would 100 percent be for Bobby Watson. He was an incredible man and was very loved in the racing community. If I could win, it would be incredible. I know he’ll be watching down protecting every driver on that racetrack and hopefully guiding us to victory lane.”
Tyrrell is one of over 20 drivers who have registered to compete in Saturday night’s Solid Rock Carriers Crystal Coast 125 presented by WITN-TV and Moore’s Barbeque. Along with the CARS Tour, the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge and the Charger division will be in action. Tickets will be available at the gate for $20 and kids 10 and under get in free. For those unable to attend, CARS Tour TV will have live coverage available on its streaming service.