Zach Lightfoot is returning to his “home away from home” this weekend to compete in the season-opening race at Carteret County Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Lightfoot, 17, from Smithfield, Virginia, scored his first career INEX Legends win at Carteret County Speedway in 2017 after running several races at the track in 2016. On Saturday, Lightfoot will make his second Late Model start at Carteret with his eyes locked on victory lane.
“I always set high expectations for myself no matter what I’m running,” Lightfoot said. “I try to meet my expectations. I think we have a pretty good shot to win. Last time I went there, we finished fourth. I know there’s some great competition there, great drivers, and that’s what’s going to make it fun. We’ll put on a show for the fans.”
Lightfoot competed in a Late Model race at Carteret in 2019 – finishing fourth after pacing both practice sessions that day.
Outside of Carteret, Lightfoot has enjoyed plenty of success in Limited Late Models, winning two division championships at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Virginia, along with 11 wins in Limited competition. He has also competed in Late Model Stock Car races at his home track, Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.
However, Carteret County Speedway holds a special place in Lightfoot’s heart and he enjoys coming to the track anytime he can.
“We got our first Legends win there at Carteret and, ever since we’ve been going there, we’ve been welcomed with open arms,” Lightfoot said. “It’s one of the nicest facilities around with first-class people. I’m really looking forward to coming back down there and running the Fast Five Late Model Series.”
When Lightfoot first began competing at Carteret, he and his family developed a friendship with Bobby Watson – as many drivers who raced at the track over the years have. Lightfoot, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, was well-liked and Watson did everything he could to help propel the then 12-year-old driver.
“He was a real great guy and a real gracious track owner,” Lightfoot said of Watson, who passed away in 2018. “Our first time there, he really welcomed us with open arms. We always made it tradition, when we went down there, we always had a cookout and he’d always be there with us. Overall, he was a really great guy and person. It’s unfortunate that he passed.”
Over the years, Lightfoot has worked to overcome Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a mild form of autism that affects emotions and behavior. Lightfoot says his racing has helped him a lot to overcome Asperger’s Syndrome, and he’s channeled some of it in a way that’s been advantageous on race days.
“It’s honestly working out great,” Lightfoot remarked. “Racing’s helping me with the Asperger’s side, being overly sensitive to feelings, to pick up what the car is doing. It helps with track awareness. I think I’ve really overcome it since I started racing.”
As of now, Lightfoot plans to run all five Solid Rock Carriers Fast Five Late Model Series races. The first of which will take place on Saturday afternoon.