SWANSBORO, NC – Cooper Webb is known for his success on two wheels, but this past weekend, the defending AMA Monster Energy Supercross 250CC West champion tried racing on four.
The 20-year-old from Newport, North Carolina, who is leading the points in his defense of the Monster Energy Supercross 250CC West championship, spent his weekend off at Carteret County Speedway in Swansboro, North Carolina. He wasn’t there to sign autographs, however. He was there to go fast like he does on his day job.
“I grew up right here in Newport so I came home for the weekend for the off weekend,” Webb said. “My mom and Bobby [Watson] go way back and he called and said ‘hey I want to get you in a car today’. I figured why not, come out here, spin some laps and kind of get used to it. It’s definitely a lot different than dirt bike racing. It’s fun.”
Webb’s first laps came in a kart normally driven by Shawn Wilson. Webb noticed the difference between his bike and Wilson’s kart immediately.
“It’s definitely a lot different from two wheels to four wheels,” Webb remarked. “All the speed and the brakes are in your feet, not your hands. No air, you’re close to the ground just letting her eat so it’s fun but you’ve got to get used to going that fast.”
After taking laps in that, Webb made the jump into Jonathan Belfiore’s Street Stock – a full bodies stock car with a muscle car body. Webb immediately learned that racers in oval racing, like in motocross, race on the edge.
“It was fast,” Webb commented. “Way faster than I was expecting. I was a little scared to get close to those walls. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that but it felt good. We were able to get a hang of it pretty quickly. I think the biggest thing is just that commitment of being close to the walls and getting in the gas. For us, we let off a lot more. We’re not up to top mile and hour with these guys. That’s the biggest thing is not letting it get too loose and figuring out the track as quick as you can.”
Webb got his start in dirt bikes at an early age, first riding, then racing. When he raced dirt bikes, success followed.
“My mom and dad were the ones that got me going,” Webb explained. “My dad used to ride back in the day and he got me a dirt bike and I just did it for fun forever. Then, finally, I just got better and better and amateurs turned into pro and it’s been history ever since. I really enjoy racing and I’ve had great success at it. It’s awesome to be able to call this a living and my job as well as doing great in it.
“I won my first championship last year and I have the red plate right now so it should be a fun time and we’ll see where it can take us.”
Webb has over 35 thousand followers on Twitter and has seen his name become increasingly well-known thanks to a surge in popularity for Supercross racing. Webb attributes that to the excitement of the racing itself as well as a television package with Fox Sports which lands Monster Energy Supercross races on FS1 and Fox.
“It’s been great, having all the races on live TV, FS1 is a huge network for us,” Webb stated. “It’s great to be on there, showing what we can do. Racing is really exciting in Supercross and I think fans are finally being able to see that, seeing behind the scenes and really getting a good feel of what we actually do and everything like that. Hopefully, one day, we’ll be as big as NASCAR. Until then, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
Supercross is much like the traditional motocross, but also much different. Webb races in the AMA Lucas Oil Motocross Championship during the summer, which visits natural terrain race circuits such as Budds Creek Motocross Park in Maryland. Webb will again compete in Motocross this summer in 250CC where he has won races, but never a championship. However, in the winter and spring, it’s all about racing in arenas in Supercross.
“The biggest difference is one is obviously indoors and tight in a stadium and it’s really jumpy. Supercross is intense. Motocross is more natural terrain, more fast jumps, natural circuits and stuff like that. I prefer Supercross. It’s a little more exciting, it’s in the stadiums, you can see everything. It’s a really good show. Something about racing at night gets us all going. It’s nice to be able to do that but I like both and that’s why I do it.”
Webb’s day at Carteret County Speedway, which is located about five minutes away from Emerald Isle, North Carolina, left a positive impression on him and oval racing is definitely something Webb would like to do.
“If I can get my feet into it and get everything going, I’d love to race cars. I grew up messing with it so you never know. I’d love to be here this summer.”
The green flag will wave on the 2016 season at Carteret County Speedway on Saturday, April 2nd. The week before, on March 26th, Carteret County Speedway will host a cruise-in from 11am-5pm which will feature music from the Mighty Saints of Soul and the cruise-in will be followed by free open practice.
For more information about Carteret County Speedway, visit the track’s official website at www.carteretspeedway.com, “like” Carteret County Speedway on Facebook (www.facebook.com/carteretcoswy) or follow @carteretcoswy on Twitter (www.twitter.com/carteretcoswy).