Street Stock driver Kenny CarrollKenny Carroll is coming off a fourth-place points finish in 2016 in his Street Stock at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (February 8, 2017) - After winning a track championship in the Street Stock division a year before, Kenny Carroll reviewed his 2016 season and succinctly summed up his performance.

"I wasn't impressed," Carroll said of his fourth-place finish in the points chase in a division that Derek Brown ran away with.

But Carroll, the popular veteran driver from Camdenton, is upbeat as the 2017 season draws near. His new Josh Franklin Motorsports car, which he debuted over the final few weeks of last season, showed plenty of promise.

Carroll entered the winter with optimism and it's done nothing but grow with each passing week.

"We had the new car and didn't get it until about four races from the end," Carroll said. "We spent most of the year trying to doctor the old car and the rest of the year trying to get the new one figured out."

Which he did with a season-best second-place feature finish in the final month of the regular season plus a solid seventh-place run in October's Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt.

"When we got out of the car after the Big Buck 50, that was when I felt like we really had a good grasp on what was going on," Carroll said.

Along with the nuances of breaking in a new car, Carroll said some rules changes in 2016 made for a steep learning curve for him. The biggest was the mandate for two-barrel carburetors, which was significant.

Carroll, who runs his own excavating business, said he always had been able to compensate for an ill-handling car through additional horsepower with the four-barrel carbs.

"With the two-barrel thing, the car has to drive better because you've lost 200 horsepower," he said. "It made everything a lot different. I've always liked plenty of throttle and this was a lot different. That, to me, was a bigger thing than the front-end geometry rules change."

Even though the new car now carries his racing hopes, Carroll is a big sentimental about taking the old No. 94 out of service. It not only won plenty of races at Lucas Oil Speedway, but Carroll won fans in it at the Lake of the Ozarks Air Show the last two autumns as he raced it against an airplane.

Last fall, Carroll was clocked at 151 miles-per-hour on the airport runway, an uptick of five miles-per-hour from the year before.

"The main problem was the runway was just 4,000 feet and you have to be able to get it stopped," Carroll said. "I'm proud that it still is a race car. No windshield or special brakes. The same (race) tires, just un-grooved. The most exciting part was getting it shut down and stopped. It turned the rotors purple."

Meanwhile, the new car is being prepared by Franklin with an eye toward rediscovering victory lane in 2017. Lucas Oil Speedway will remain his primary racing home, but Carroll doesn't plan to necessarily points race.

"Danny (Lucas Oil Speedway assistant general manager Danny Lorton) has worked with several tracks to make the (Street Stock) rules comparable," Carroll said. "My wife and family wants to do a little more traveling. I'm wanting to win races."

The 2017 Lucas Oil Speedway season begins with the Weekly Championship Series opener on April 8, followed by the 4th annual Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals on April 14-15.

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