Mod Kart has emerged as the proving ground for future stars of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. With the high performance capabilities of these small, nimble, and surprisingly powerful cars, the competition on the track is often exceptional. Drivers in this class are able to really showcase the skills they’ve developed during the early stages of their off road careers, and success in this division is often a launching pad into the premier, full-size vehicle divisions, whether it’s UTVs, buggies, or trucks.
For the past two seasons, 14 year old Mason Prater has shown himself to be one of the sport’s brightest and most promising young talents. The Prater Racing driver was on the cusp of capturing the Mod Kart title during the 2018 season, when he entered the final round with the points lead. However, heartbreak ended his race early and forced Prater to watch the championship slip away, ultimately settling for a runner-up result. As he and his family-owned team entered the 2019 season there was only one goal, and Prater continued to build upon his success from the past season, collecting a pair of wins and a string of podium finishes en route to the final round at the Chandler, Arizona native’s home track at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. With the points lead once again in hand, Prater avoided misfortune this time around and capped off an overdue championship triumph in front of the hometown crowd. The future is bright for this up-and-coming driver, who is ready to take the next step in his Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series career.
You enjoyed a really impressive season. How does it feel to earn your first championship in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series?
Winning it feels great. I’ve dreamed of it for eight or nine years now. Just to be able to do it, it feels great.
You captured two wins and were on the podium five times in seven races. What was the key to all the success you achieved?
The key was definitely consistency. We just knew that we had to stay consistent through the whole season, because they say that consistency is what wins championships.
Last season you were also really strong and finished second in the championship. Did that give you even more motivation to take that next step and capture the title?
Yeah, last year we learned a lot in just racing the Mod Kart. We were running up front and we were first in points until the last race when we broke. So that just gave us extra motivation (this season) to come out and win.
The Mod Kart class is really competitive. We saw four different drivers earn a win this season. Can you describe what it’s like to race in that class? What do you enjoy the most?
Racing in Mod Kart is always really competitive. You never know who is going to run up front with you, and there’s races where someone is running first one day, and 10th the next day. And someone could also be running 10th one day, and first the next day. So you never really know who is going to be running next to you, but there’s always going to be someone that’s fast. Something I enjoy is always having someone to battle with. There’s always competitors that go out there and push you to go faster and faster, and become a better driver.
You were able to win at your home track at Wild Horse Pass in April, and then you clinched the championship there in October. What was it like to accomplish those things in front of the hometown crowd?
My friends and my family, they all come out there, and I try to put on a good show (for them). I always try and just drive the best at every track, but out there it’s just special because there’s a lot of them that come out there to watch and support. I just want to make them proud to come out and see them have a good time. To be able to show them what the racing is really about is just really cool to me.
Outside of winning the championship, what would you consider to be your greatest memory from this past season?
I would have to say Reno (at Wild West Motorsports Park). Just because there are a lot of people that helped us get out there (on the track). We were having some car problems, but we got it fixed and ended up getting the win.
What’s your plans for next season, and what are your long-term goals in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series?
Next season we’re running a Pro Lite in the (Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series) national series and a couple of the (Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series) races. In the long term, I really want to get into a bigger form of racing (classes) and be known as a well rounded, talented driver across the world. I’d really love to try Baja, and I’d like to do some rallycross, but my dream to drive anything would be F1.
How important has it been to have the support of your family? What do they do for you that allows you to achieve so much success.
Their support means the world to me. They’re the ones that are out there every race, that put the days in trying to make the car faster, and they put up money for this team. They’re the reason that I’m here, and without them this team wouldn’t be where it is today. I wouldn’t be racing (without their support).