Al Carter sits at a high-top table at Brandywine Brewing Company munching a tuna sandwich with sweet potato fries and talks between bites about his upcoming weekend at Daytona, where he will race an Aston Martin Vantage GT in an endurance run at the famous Florida track. Carter, who resembles ex-NFL quarterback Bart Starr, is a Delaware native who went to UD and lives in Greenville.
Though Albert is the name on his birth certificate, “I’m still Scott to everyone in New Castle County,” Carter says of his nickname. For years, he made a living as a floor-trader in the hurly-burly of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, a hectic profession which, he points out, calls for the same split-second, risk-vs.-reward, don’t-look-back decision making that professional racing demands.
Now 50, Carter hasn’t slowed down, except to answer questions.
Why did you become a race car driver?
It started when my grandfather, a plumber who was a racing fan, took me to the Indy 500 when I was 5. Then, when I was in my 30s, I had Hodgkin’s and was on chemo for a year. I had two kids, and a third was on the way. That gave me a different perspective on life. Racing was on my bucket list, so a friend and I went to the Skip Barber Racing School in 2008. Two years later, I was a rookie pro at Daytona.
What kind of racing do you do?
Sports car and endurance. It’s run by the International Motor Sports Association, which is owned by NASCAR.
How successful have you been?
A highlight was when we won the 2015 Rolex 24 GTD Class at Daytona in a SRT Viper. I call it my tombstone moment. I did about 20 amateur races with Skip Barber and perhaps another 50 professionally. After Daytona, we race 12 hours at Sebring.
Is it expensive?
With four drivers and a large support team, we’re always looking for support. Let me get in a plug here for my sponsor, Invisible Glass.
What do your wife and children think about your racing?
They’re not big fans. My wife reminds me that she married a racing fanatic, not a race car driver.
Is driving scary?
Not really. My reflexes are good, and I’m fit. But racing’s not like golf. If I miss one of these “fairways,” I’m done for the weekend.
What’s the fastest you’ve raced?
About 190 down the straightaway in the Viper. But speed is relative. I’ve been getting rid of my harness-racing business, but I’ve gone down the track at 35 mph in a sulky behind a horse that didn’t want to do what I told him—and no brakes. Now that’s scary.