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 Article: Carson Needs A Cleanup

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Jesse Pizzajarvi
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PostSubject: Article: Carson Needs A Cleanup   Mon May 28, 2018 1:51 am

Robert Correll
AARO News
May 28th, 2018

As if things were not already looking dire for Adam Carson's operation, it just got much worse.

Jason Carter was involved in an altercation on Saturday at the Carbondale Raceway following an on-track incident between his #77 Grainger Toyota Camry and the #87 of P.J. Boucher for Ritcher Racing. The result of the altercation was an unconscious Boucher and serious injuries to Boucher's crew chief Floyd Lester, both at the hands of Carter. After dragging Lester from the #87 pit box straight down to the ground, Carter and Boucher began trading blows and the ensuing brawl thankfully did not result in any further injury. Official league Public Relations tweeted out that Carter was "suspended indefinitely from all AARO events", meaning the team is now down both their secondary AERS driver in Barry Juveno and their reserve driver who was substituting for him.

This comes at one of the worst possible times for an organization that has mightily struggled through the first half of the season, having only made 19 out of a possible 30 Amp Energy Racing Series races team-wide. Barry Juveno has fallen ten positions over the past two events in the points standings to 32nd while Cohon and Lowrey have yet to break into the Top 35 in points all year. Jimmy Cohon, currently 37th, is 141 points behind 36th-place Kody Lachner and sits 216 spots behind James Rodin in 35th. The 33 car is technically locked in for Bristol via injuries to Alex Jates and teammate Juveno. Ross Lowrey has only made three races and will be retiring at season's end.

Who do they have should an unhappy Juveno (likely to return at Alberta from a broken wrist and concussion) depart along with the retiring Lowrey? The first option seems to be Zbynek Hrabak, a 17-year-old prospect in the Marathon Regional Tour who does not turn 18 until June. He sits 18th in points as of Rockingham and only has this season as experience in a stock car. He is highly regarded within the organization and considered to be the best prospect the team has right now.

The second option is Nico Bassanelli, a racer from Long Island with a history of off-track excursions with drivers and teams in the area. He sits 35th in driver's points, second-to-last in drivers who have made all nine races during the 2018 season, and has openly expressed discontent at the imbalance of performance between Hrabak and himself citing that the team was giving him inferior equipment.

The third option is Thomas Straka, Carter's teammate in the ANS, who also has minimal stock car experience like his countryman Hrabak. Straka has not looked terribly out of his element in his first full season thus far, but it is questionable as to whether or not he is seasoned enough for the AERS. He's gotten two Top 5s, four Top 10s and three DNFs in 11 races. Carter by comparison got his lone Top 5 via his Livonia win, two Top 10s and four DNFs and will continue to drop from 24th in the standings.

Finally, the fourth option is the one plenty of you are probably yelling at your computers right now: search for options outside of the organization. Either trading for more drivers or signing from the rather slim free agent pool is the only way that the team can adequately fill the vacancies Carter leaves should his suspension not be lifted by the series. Josh Mertz has remained quiet in terms of a return, likely focused moreso on off-track business endeavors than a driving career currently. Jeff Genger, Robert Biggs and Darrien Maneren appear to be the biggest names available and none of them appeared to attract any sort of interest from teams during the offseason. While the non-domestic options for this team do not appear optimal, they may not have a choice in the matter.

The younger brother of 2015 AERS Champion Mikael Carter does not have a set timeframe to return and it will not likely be soon. The team will need to make some decisions in the coming week that will certainly affect the team from here on out. It's been a long road since the days of Jonathon Ringer and Tyler Deefer, both still in the series and very successful.

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Article: Carson Needs A Cleanup
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