Tell us about your racing background and how you ended up at the Lucas Oil Regional Series:
My name is Mason Prater, I am 11 years old and I have been racing for 6 years and this will be my 7th season. I started out with an outlaw kart and then moved into a JR1. In 2014, I won the Lucas Oil Championship in the JR1. I have raced 3 karts in the series and am now racing a mod. I started racing the regional series in California because there is a lot of competition and that makes racing exciting.
Family seems to play a big role on most regional teams and we see your family at the track with you at every round. How important is your family to your success and what roles do each of them play on race weekends?
Family is huge for BW Motorsports, after all our team name is our families "Brister and Ward". The helpfulness they offer has no limits, ranging from my father and mother offering encouragement and exciting new opportunities, to my spotter Jimmy for keeping me safe on the track, to my brothers and uncle (Bud, Brian and Mike) for making sure I am always racing the best possible vehicle I can. Family is a very big thing to me, without them I wouldn't be able to race at the level I do, if at all.
What is your advice to someone looking to start out in short course off road racing?
Racing has evolved into something so much more than driving a car on the weekends and wrenching on it in the week, and I wish I knew this when I started. The biggest advice I could give to someone looking to start out is to come to the races and talk to drivers/crew chiefs/ anyone on a team, absorb as much information as you can to get a good grasp on the sport and also let you gain connections that will help you sustain a long-term career.
What is your favorite track and why?
I love Elsinore so much. It was the first track I raced on with Lucas Oil and the speed and air you catch not only make it fun to watch, but a blast to participate in. I cannot wait to touch that track again in both of my cars now.
When you're not at the track, what can we find you doing?
Like most of the people in this sport, the racing has absorbed our life, we always need something to give that same adrenaline feeling. When the cars are prepped and waiting for the next rounds however you can find me schooling for my Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and spending my night life in San Diego city having a good time.
How much time/work goes into preparing for each race weekend?
When you tell someone that you’re going to race Volkswagen Buggies in Elsinore, most people would assume you wash your car off from the last race, then load it up and go. Most of my colleagues would agree however that to stay on top of the box a tremendous amount of research and development needs to be put into the cars. Every time we finish a race weekend we tear our cars down, looking for ways to make them lighter while doing damage control. Outside of turning a wrench, what we have found recently is a whole day on a track will teach you a lot about your vehicle and in turn make you faster in it, so we usually get a test day before each event to further push what the cars can do.
What/who is your biggest challenge on the track?
In a class with such tight rules, everybody will tell you the biggest challenge is trying to predict what conditions you will be racing on as opposed to your car setup. The track can make or break your setup and that’s where a little bit of luck comes into effect. Track aside, every one of my competitors has proven to be a challenge at one point in my career, with Kyle Knott proving to be the car I am always chasing. On top of that, racing with family is a challenge, because you want them to drive safe and make it to the end of the race, but nobody wants their brothers to beat them and that poses a huge mental challenge for me. This makes my brothers Michael Brister and Bud Ward some very interesting rivals.
Any goals for the next few years and beyond?
My racing career has moved up a class for the 2017 season. Coming to a compromise with the Georges at Funco Motorsports and my father, I have the opportunity to pilot a pro buggy for the next few years, as well as continue my career in Limited Buggy. As of now we are planning on running a full Regional series in SoCal in Limited Buggy and Pro Buggy, as well as a few national races in the Pro Buggy. After that, it depends what opportunities open up to us.
We know it takes a lot of support to race and you seem to backed by some great companies. Is there anyone you would like to thank for their support?
To start I would like to thank my official team owner, manager, title sponsor profession race car driver and father Mark Brister for not only funding the entire program but also giving up weekends he wanted to race for the better good of a points battle. He is a fierce racer and hopefully everyone will see him on the track soon. For performance, I would like to thank Major Performance racing engines for always having my back in any car I get into as well as Dave Folts transmissions for building a very solid product. Mckenzies has also been at every race and saved me many times over, as well as Ramona Tire Service Centers for proving my team with rubber to race on. Coming into the 2017 season I would like to thank Funco for build a chassis I can depend on in a pro buggy, LAT Racing Oils for trusting in my team and I and helping me out, KING shocks for making every short course car I race a smooth fast ride and having a quick product rebuild turn around, as well as Redline Performance engines for building quick reliable bullets I can race with. I would also like to thank BFG for the trackside support they offered us last year and I look forward to continuing that relationship for the 2017 season. As well as any other partners that get created within the 2017 season, there is a ton of room on the car and any company that helps us little guys deserves to be well recognized in the sport!