Prior to the 2019 racing season, Tucson, Arizona’s Ethan Ebert learned the ropes of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series by being one of the top racers in JR 2 Kart. On the heels of a runner-up finish in that class in 2018, Ebert made the move up into the increasingly competitive Mod Kart class for 2019, where he was one of several rookies looking to make an impact. With his wealth of success and experience in JR 2 Kart, the up and coming 13 year old acclimated well into Mod Kart, taking advantage of his opportunities to race alongside the top drivers in the class, showing he has what it takes to challenge for wins.
A promising rookie season culminated with a third-place finish at Wild West Motorsports Park in July, giving Ebert his first Mod Kart podium result. The boost of confidence from that finish carried Ebert through a solid second half of the season in which he was able to secure sixth in the final Mod Kart standings. As a result, the Ebert Racing driver was awarded Rookie of the Year honors for the division, from which he’s eager to build upon and make a run for the Mod Kart title in 2020.
How does it feel to be named Rookie of the Year? Was that one of the goals you had entering your first year in Mod Kart?
Oh yeah. That was one thing that we really wanted to focus on. Just getting Rookie of the Year and trying to be consistent in order to get that. It feels really good. Just the feeling of doing that is amazing. To be a rookie, all brand new, come in and get Rookie of the Year in nationals (the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series), it just feels great.
You were one of the most successful drivers in JR 2 Kart the past couple of seasons. Did all of your experience in that class help your transition into Mod Kart?
Oh yeah, for sure. Just knowing all the tracks and stuff. It was kind of different because I had to change (how I drive), but most of the cornering was easy and that’s what really helped me. Just being consistent through the corners.
What would you say is the biggest difference between JR 2 Kart and Mod Kart?
Probably the speed; that’s the most different, I feel. And the shifting part of it, too, because you’re going 60-70 miles per hour through the straightaway, pulling tear-offs, shifting gears, and trying to pass people. So it’s probably waymore challenging.
Just like JR 2 Kart, the Mod Kart class is very competitive and anyone can win. What do you enjoy the most about racing in this division?
So it’s really challenging because, yeah, everyone can win. Everyone can win because they’re all fast. They’re all fast cars. It’s just really more (about) putting in the effort and just wanting to win. Having that feeling of winning. Just wanting to get in there to try and win.
Now that you have a full season under your belt, what was the biggest lesson you learned about racing in Mod Kart?
Consistency. That’s one of the biggest things that my dad tells me. Just be consistent. You don’t always have to be on the podium, just be consistent top five and you’ll get there in the points.
Your best race of the season came at Wild West Motorsports Park with a third-place finish. What was it like to earn your first ever podium in the class?
It was amazing. Just the feeling of coming in third in Reno was amazing. Being a rookie, everyone doesn’t think that you’re going to get there. They think you’re probably going to be in the back, but proving everyone wrong, that really made the year.
Overall, were you happy with how you performed this season and where you finished in the championship?
Oh yeah, definitely. That’s probably one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had in my life, really. Being able to be consistent and stay with the top guys in the class, it just keeps me going.
With everything you learned this year as a rookie, what are your goals in Mod Kart next season? What are your long-term goals in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series?
So next year we’re really going to try and push it more. Try and stay consistently on the podium, and stay consistently top four, top five. And just get up there for nationals (the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series) and get maybe first, second, or third for overall standings in the points. Eventually, I’ll probably go into Pro 4 with the big guys, or Pro 2. It just seems really fun to grab the handbrake, throw it into a corner, and just going out from there.
What does it mean to have the support of your family and everything they do to allow you to chase your dream of racing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series?
It just feels amazing. They have so much support and love for me, and for what I want to do. They’re just so amazing with it. They always support me and whatever I do, and it’s always there consistently. I’m just really glad I can be able to do this. I also really want to give a shout out to Jimmy Owens and Joe Chapman from XMF for helping me take my driving skills to the next level and coaching me along the way through the season.
Is there anyone else you’d like to thank?
I’m also really grateful for all the sponsors that support us as well. I want to thank everyone who supports my race program – Vision X, Element 7, Puffin, and the Xtreme Machine and Fabrication team.