Learning experience continues for Etter and DC Autosport
 August 18, 2023| 
  • Team News
Carson Etter

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – DC Autosport and USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires rookie Carson Etter showed the progress they have made this season, with Etter scoring his best finish of the season to date at legendary Road America.

The team showed they have the speed to compete with the lead pack – and with a little luck, hope that Etter’s first series podium is close at hand.

“With a single car effort last weekend, we had a tough time in qualifying, but Carson kept getting quicker all weekend,” said team principal Don Conner. “He had good race pace and mixed it up in the top five, which was great to see! It's great to see him constantly stepping up his game and pace!”

With Ethan Ho shifting his focus to the upcoming USF2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires weekends, Etter (Villa Park, Calif.) was the lone DCA entry at Road America. Through three test sessions on Friday, the 19-year-old Boise State student worked on eliminating the car’s understeer and improving straight-line speed in order to stay in the racing draft.

After significant weather came through the area overnight, cloudy and cool conditions greeted the field for the official practice session, qualifying, and race one on Saturday. Etter put the lessons learned on Friday to good use, setting the ninth-quickest time in the morning session. In afternoon qualifying, Etter clocked his fastest time of the weekend with a lap at 2:16.685, placing himself 13th on the race one starting grid.

Etter began battling at the drop of the race one green flag, looking to make a move for position. In turn eight, Lucas Fecury broke hard and Etter clipped him as Fecury began to turn into the corner. Etter almost avoided the spinning car but just clipped him with his left rear, breaking the toe link. “It was good racing, plenty of racing room, that was just an unfortunate end to the first day,” said Etter.

In race two, Etter found himself in the wrong position on the start. “It seemed as though there was a mix-up on the pace lap between the cars ahead of me on the grid, and I actually started two positions back from where I should have. I got a bad start because of it but I fought my way back.”

Staying in the draft and catching up to the leaders, Etter put himself into position to pounce on the restart after a yellow flag. In the chaos heading back to green, several cars ahead hit the brakes, prompting Etter to do the same to avoid an incident. Etter was clipped by Fecury but was able to continue, getting a good run up the hill to the green and sliding by three cars in turn one. “I was just trying to get as many positions as I could – it was a fun race, two by two through Canada Corner with Quinn Armstrong, Nicolas Giaffone and Erick Schotten. I should have gained a couple more positions but ran a bit wide and lost speed. But it was back and forth for the last few laps, with Quinn and I going back and forth a few times.”

Finishing a season-high sixth, Etter was nonetheless disappointed. “I lost out on fifth by nine-one thousandths of a second, which is really painful!”

Race three took the green flag Sunday afternoon with rain on the radar. Etter struggled for early pace as the field settled in, in a four-car pack that worked hard to reconnect with the lead group. Putting down solid, consistent lap times, Etter was on a charge – but going into turn eight as the middle car in a three-wide go and losing traction, he slid into Giovanni Cabrera, damaging the Cabrera’s left rear suspension and earning Etter a penalty that put him to the back of the field. “In hindsight, I should have waited to make a move. I locked up all four tires trying to avoid contact but tapped his left sidepod. It was my fault; I went to talk to him after the race to apologize. I hate that feeling, knowing you’re the reason someone else’s race is over. I’m not that kind of racer.”

Etter recovered, back in 14th, but on lap nine, coming into Canada Corner at 130mph, he encountered a car that had spun and contacted the wall. The car ahead of Etter slowed quickly, sending Etter into the grass. He lightly grazed the wall, but it was enough to end his day.

DC Autosport and the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires concludes the 2023 season with a tripleheader at Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas, August 24 - 27. Tune into USFJuniors.com for all the action.

CARSON ETTER – No. 57 Priority Workforce

Race 1: Start – 13th / Finish – 16th

Race 2: Start – 13th / Finish – 6th

Race 3: Start – 13th / Finish – 15th

Championship standing:  13th

“There were plenty of positive takeaways from the weekend. I know that I have the speed to compete toward the front, it’s just a matter of qualifying better. My racecraft is better when I’m up with the lead group, learning from what the drivers around me are doing and transferring that to my own driving. If I can qualify better, I’m confident that I have a chance at a podium, I just need to get those positions more quickly. Overall, it was a good experience, knowing I have the pace to compete – it’s just a matter of doing it.”

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