Gavin Carter, a rising young talent in the race direction side of the drag racing industry, has been named the new Dragstrip Manager at Virginia Motorsports Park, the track announced today. Carter will work closely with VMP Vice President Tyler Crossnoe on track operations while also continuing his role in race operations at the Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series.
“Tyler and I have worked together for more than 10 years now, so I’m excited to take on this new role working closely with him at VMP,” said Carter, 27. “We’ve always had the same vision. Whether it’s working on the PDRA side, doing his OSCR event back in the day, or helping him out at Virginia like I have since he’s been there, we always want every event to be the most successful and best event it can be. Every time we get done with an event, we sit down afterwards and look at what we need to do next time to take things up a notch. We’re always looking to improve the facility, improve the events, and improve ourselves to make things bigger and better than they were before.”
Carter was just 14 years old when he started working at the now-defunct Memphis International Raceway parking cars and working the concession stand. He eventually worked his way up to the operations side of the business. He’s since served in a variety of positions at tracks and organizations like NMCA/NMRA, Total Venue Concepts, and Bradenton Motorsports Park. Along with frequently filling in to work events at VMP, Carter has also worked with Crossnoe, the PDRA series director, in an operations role for the eight-race series.
“I was working as track manager in Memphis alongside Paul Cartwright when Gavin was hired,” Crossnoe said. “Paul and I both recognized a potential future talent, even at his young age nearly immediately. We worked alongside each other through my tenure at Memphis, through the many years of the Outlaw Street Car Reunion, and plenty of events in between. We both possess a lot of the same tendencies, mindsets, and work ethic when it comes to the sport and the task at hand. I feel this will make his inclusion into VMP an extremely smooth transition and will place him in a position to find success nearly immediately.
“We have a great team already in place,” Crossnoe continued, “but adding in a huge core improvement in Gavin will allow me to be more of a vice president for the company and try to lead in ways that have been pushed aside for a number of seasons. I’m truly excited not only for Gavin and our company, but also for the racers and fans in the area as more skilled and talented individuals will just make drag racing as a whole better through this entire market and every event on schedule for 2024 and beyond.”
Before Carter worked in drag racing full-time, he was a school teacher and coach, an experience that informs the way he handles management roles in drag racing.
“I tell people all the time, 10 percent of my job is making sure the race runs right,” Carter said. “The other 90 percent is the managing of personalities and making sure the people I’m managing are set up for success. If I put somebody in a position where they fail, that’s not a reflection of them, that’s a reflection of me not setting them up for success. You’re only as good as the weakest link, so I’m always trying to figure out ways to make sure the people I’m working with are experiencing some kind of success and they’re taking that step up as well.”
Carter will continue to work with Crossnoe in the race operations department at the Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series, which celebrated its 10th season in 2023. Two of the series’ eight points-earning national events are hosted at VMP, the Mid-Atlantic Showdown, April 18-20, and the Brian Olson Memorial World Finals, Oct. 17-20. The track will also host the fourth annual Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race during its Night of Fire on July 13.
“Gavin’s addition to the full-time roster here in Virginia will show light on the PDRA side of our company as well,” Crossnoe said. “The PDRA series has seen a rapid growth in the last few seasons, now housing the Red Line Oil title partnership branding for the 2024 season, and that growth comes with higher expectations and goals. I fully expect to see Gavin’s role in PDRA continue to increase as the months and years pass, implementing many of his talents into the series that will continue to push our level of professionalism and event performance another step up the ladder.
“To work alongside another young talented person in the drag racing industry and implementing Gavin into what the Franklin family and myself have been working towards these last five seasons is exciting for all involved and a blessing for me,” Crossnoe continued. “I’ve said it before, but it’s a proud big brother moment to see everything that Gavin has done in this industry, and it’s now my job and goal to help continue his rise and growth in our sport for many years to come.”
“Tyler is one of the hardest working people in drag racing,” Carter added. “I’ve known him forever now and I’ve seen the number of hours he puts in. With me coming in to essentially take some of that stress and relieve him a little bit, it’s going to open up all kinds of other opportunities for some cool things that are going to be coming to VMP and PDRA in the next year and years to come. VMP fans and PDRA fans, keep an eye out because there’s some pretty cool stuff that we’ve got cooking up here.”