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In the Driver's Seat

William Camara

Lives in: Fremont, California
Car number: 57

William Camara knows how to make himself popular with his fellow drivers in the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by RAM Mounts.

William Camara knows how to make himself popular with his fellow drivers in the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by RAM Mounts.william camara car

“As a kid I used to idolize Scott Winters. I think he’s one of the best drivers around in the Modified series,” Camara said on a recent weekend at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California. “Now to be against him and be on the same level as him … It’s an honor to be up here with these guys.

“I grew up watching Scott Winters and Wes Miller (who are 48 and 44, respectively) and getting to race alongside them and guys like Austin Barnes and Ryan Partridge is incredible. There’s not really a driver here that shouldn’t be here.”

Camara, who’ll be 22 on April 21, is one of the newer kids on the grid, but he’s quickly and quietly proving he belongs in the best short-track touring series in the West.

The Fremont, California, resident ran three races in 2014 and one in 2015 with forgettable results and was relegated to the B main in his first two outings after joining car owner Mike Garcia’s team in June of last year. Then came a good 11th-place finish on the quarter-mile Orange Show Speedway bull ring in San Bernardino, California, in August and an eye-opening fourth at Kern County in September.

The final two points races of 2016 were disappointing, back of the pack finishes. But Camara closed the year with a 10th in the Race of Champions at Las Vegas in November and opened the new season February 11 with a ninth in the Spray Nine Race of Champions at Kern County, where he said a championship is the goal for his first full season in the series and his 18th year in racing.

Camara was 4 when his uncle, Scott Swihart, bought him a Quarter-Midget and he drove his first race on his fifth birthday. From there he progressed through Mini Cup and Baby Grand stock cars and Legends Cars to Modifieds, staying on paved ovals because his uncle thought that would be the best way to move up on a limited budget.
Along the way he met Garcia, whose team prepared the car then-rookie Dylan Cappello drove to a series championship in 2014.

“We were doing more local tracks at first because budget was really important for us,” said Camara (pronounced Ka-Mare-Uh). “We actually used to race against Mike at Stockton and Roseville (two northern California tracks). He helped us out at the track a little bit, too. So we started a relationship and then one day he called us up and asked us if we’d like to drive for him.”

Camara got his baptism in the Lucas Oil Modified Series with races at Madera, Blythe, California, and Las Vegas in 2014 and showed enough ability during last year’s seven races to parlay it into a full season with Garcia this year.

“That was the great part of last year,” he said. “Coming on toward the end of the year I wasn’t too worried about points, it was more (about) learning the track, learning the car and building a relationship with my team so this year we can come in full-throttle and do the best we can.

“We have a great group of guys here. I’ve got a great teammate (Michael Womack), Mike’s a great car owner, and we have a great crew out here that works very hard. We have a really good chemistry going and I’m really, really happy to be part of such a great team.

“Every race we’re getting better. We’re learning a lot and we’ve got my crew chief (Dean Klock) on full-time and I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen this season.”

WILLIAM CAMARA AT A GLANCE

Age: 21 (21 April 1995)
Lives in: Fremont, Caliornia
Marital status: Single
Occupation: Race car driver; student
Car number: 57
Type of chassis: STR
Engine: Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Dean Klock, Troy Furman
Sponsors: Slick Mist; Hixco; Transmissions by Hal; All Pro Coatings; Arce Racing Engines; MTFX Graphics; FRE; Total Power Battery; Garcia Racing
Years in racing: 17
Divisions raced: Quarter Midgets; Mini Cups; Baby Grands; Legends Cars; Lucas Oil Modifieds
Series point standings: T33 (2014); 23 (2016)

Tracks

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Irwindale Event CenterIrwindale Event Center
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Madera SpeedwayMadera Speedway
Rocky Mountain RacewayRocky Mountain Raceway
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In the Driver's Seat

MICHAEL MITCHELL

Michael Mitchell

Lives in: Loomis, California
Car number: 77

Mike Mitchell got interested in racing when he was a boy. His dad owned race cars that others drove for him and to Mitchell it looked like something he’d like to try when he got old enough. By that time, however, his father had quit racing, so Mitchell turned to other things in his life.

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