Since joining the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in 2013, 13-year-old Mason Prater has been an extremely consistent frontrunner in the kart ranks. Prater has climbed the ladder the right way, moving gradually from Junior 1 to Junior 2, and finally up to the Mod Kart class last season.
Now in his second season in Mod Karts ‘The Elite Class‘, Prater is your current points leader, and continued consistency has made the young hotshoe very tough to beat, as his record of two wins and two second place finishes from the four rounds of racing so far this season will tell you. Recently, Lucas Oil had a chance to sit down with Mason to chat about all things racing: how he got started, who he looks up to, and where he hopes to take his career in the future.
Q1: How did you get started in short course? A1: We got into it because our old neighbors (the Steeles, Scotty and Parker, both former kart class drivers) got us into it. Even though they don’t do it anymore, we’re still doing it.
Q2: When did you first move into Modified Kart? A2: Last year. I ran the Junior 1s and Junior 2s before, and last year was my rookie year in the mods.
Q3: When was your first race win? First Modified Kart win? A3: In Junior 1, it was my first ever race, at Wild Horse Pass. I had a bet with Scott Steele that if I won, I’d get a brand new RC car, and I won! In Mod kart, it was the second regional this year.
Q4: What are some of your significant career achievements so far? A4: Winning the Junior 1 National Championship (2014) and then getting Rookie of the Year in Junior 2 the next year. Also, my first ever win in Mods – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
Q5: How did last season go for you? A5: It went really well for us. I got lots of seat time, learned a lot, and now we can run up in the front of the pack.
Q6: What does your race schedule look like for 2018? A6: Up next we have this weekend here in Utah, then Crandon next weekend, then a regional, and then maybe a week off? I’m racing all the California Regionals, plus the Lucas National Series.
Q7: What are your goals for 2018? A7: To win the National Championship.
Q8: What are your longer-term goals for your career? A8: I really wanna get a big sponsor and get my name out there, get more championships stacked up, and continue in the series.
Q9: Do you hope to turn racing into a career? A9: Definitely. I definitely want to have racing as a career. I want it to be the only thing, so I can focus on it, and not have to worry that something pops up with a side thing I’m doing.
Q10: Who do you look up to in this sport? A10: I really look up to Kyle LeDuc because he’s really aggressive and really throws it in and has a lot of faith in his car. I try to drive like that.
Q11: What have you sacrificed to get to where you are? A11: I definitely sacrificed some knowledge because I’ve missed a lot of school. I have to look at friends’ notes to get the full lessons.
Q12: What’s your favorite track? A12: It has to be Glen Helen because I have so much experience there and have been racing there for seven or eight years. I always seem to do decent there.
Q13: What’s your favorite memory from racing? A13: It would be my first ever Junior 1 race where I won. It was my first ever win in anything. I won an RC car, and I was just so incredibly happy that day.
Q14: Who’s your best friend in the sport? A14: At the track, all kart kids are like best friends; there’s nobody that’s a better friend than another. But, if I had to pick one, I’d say Luke (Knupp) or Braydon (Beatty). Luke because I’ve known him the longest, or Braydon because we have the most in common; we got him (Braydon) into it.
Q15: Why do you like short course? A15: I really like it because of all the people you can meet; everyone’s so friendly. Also, I like it because so much can happen. You can be leading with a big gap, and go around a corner and your tie rod breaks, and your race is over. Anything can happen.
Q16: Why should fans root for you? A16: For one reason: I’m the underdog in the series. Other drivers were favored to win this year, and we’ve podiumed every race. Also, I’m one of the youngest kids (13 years old, while many of his closest rivals are 15 or 16).
Q17: What’s your most embarrassing moment in racing? A17: I was pretty embarrassed when I stalled at the first National race this year, when we were heading out to do the radio check – it was my first ever stall.
Q18: If you could race anything else in the world of motorsports, what would it be? A18: I kinda want to race a desert truck. No, a Class 1 – it seems so fun to be racing across the desert at 100 mph, not knowing what’s going to happen next.
Q19: What do you do to prepare yourself for competition? A19: I go to K1 Speed a lot, and I used to ride my dirt bike a lot, until I started getting a little too aggressive and doing too many wheelies. But yeah, I go to K1 Speed and work on my lines, and being smooth.
Q20: Who would you say most helped shape you into the person you are today? A20: Oh my dad, definitely! My dad’s been to every one of my races, except a couple he had to miss because of work, but basically he’s always there no matter what. He’s always out there working his butt off, and I couldn’t be out here today without him. And we have the same personality.
Written by Scott Neth. Courtesy of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series