In just three years of racing, Austin “Willie” Somero has made a name for himself – first as a Street Stock champion, then as a Limited Late Model winner. Now, Somero is moving up and his sights are set on the Icebreaker at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday.
The 22-year-old from Greer, South Carolina won a handful of Limited Late Model races last season at Greenville-Pickens Speedway while also running races at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway and Myrtle Beach Speedway. This weekend, he’s heading back to Myrtle Beach and, teamed up with former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series crew chief Lee McCall, will make his second career Late Model Stock Car start.
“My expectations for this weekend are to keep the car in one piece and just feel it out,” Somero told Race22.com. “It’s been a while since I’ve been in a Late Model Stock. I’ve just been running Limiteds. This will be my first Late Model Stock Car race at Myrtle Beach Speedway, so we’re mainly just going to feel it out, try to place good, and ride.”
Somero has predominantly raced at Greenville-Pickens Speedway throughout his career. This season, he plans to race more often and at more venues.
“We’re running quite a few races this season,” Somero said. “It’s probably going to be the most races I’ve run in a season. Try to get as many wins as I can and keep progressing in a Late Model.”
Last season, Somero did venture outside of Greenville-Pickens Speedway and race at other tracks. He feels the experience of racing at other tracks makes him a better driver.
“You feel like you know the car, then you go to another track and it feels completely different,” Somero explained. “There’s a lot to learn there. It’s actually really fun going from a flat track at Greenville to a banked track at Myrtle Beach with the long straights and the dog-leg on the frontstretch. It’s really fun to try to figure out the different tracks and learn to drive them.”
Last season, Somero competed in the South East Limited Late Model Series race at Myrtle Beach Speedway, finishing sixth.
Prior to running in a Limited Late Model with Hawk McCall Motorsports last year, Somero spent two years in Street Stocks. He won the division championship at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in 2017 and has raced some in the MASS Series.