Shaun Carlson first appeared on the national radar driving the Team Mopar Dodge Neon SRT-4 in the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Series Pro-FWD class. He was a two-time winner in that class and finished in the top five each season from 2003 to 2005. He was also the 2002 Xbox Cup champion in the NOPI Pro Outlaw class.
Carlson made his NHRA Pro Stock debut in 2004 subbing for an injured Darrell Alderman in the Winternationals event. In Feb. 2006 he joined Richie Stevens Jr. as teammate on Don Schumacher Racing's two-car Pro Stock team. He left the Pro Stock seat in August.
He is the owner of NuFormz, a sport compact marketing firm, which is the sponsor of the drifting Dodge Viper SRT10 driven by Samuel Hubinette.
We had a chance to talk with Carlson at the NHRA Sport Compact Finals at Pomona Raceway.
MM: Why do you race Mopar?
Shaun Carlson: Why do I race Mopar? Because I'm the luckiest person on this planet and because I've been at other manufacturers and I've been on my own and I can't thank Mopar enough, I know it sounds cheesy. Mopar was the first company to actually bring me into the family. At other manufacturers that I've been with, I was just another number. The thing that is nice about Mopar is they actually care about my feelings and what I want to do and where my future is…in my hands and is what I want to do instead of what they want me to do.
MM: Didn't you have a deal with Ford for awhile?
SC: Yeah, I was with Ford for several years, in that time, we were also with Meguiar's, which was nice, Barry Meguiar is awesome, he did a lot for us, I can't thank him enough.
MM: So what is your everyday driver? Do you have a Mopar street machine?
SC: I guess you would say we've been pretty diehard. Since I'm part of a family I would never have a competing manufacturer's car as a street car. We actually have a Dodge dually truck, we have a brand new Jeep Commander, we have, in the family, a Magnum, all lowered with 22" wheels and then I just sold my 300C and I know currently have a Mercedes Benz, so it's still DaimlerChrysler.
MM: Have you had any classic Chrysler Mopars?
SC: No, not yet…and that's the thing, I come from the fabrication side of this sport and I've always wanted to build one and if I'm going to build one, I'm going to do it from the ground up. But now that I've realized how busy I am, just with the drag racing side of it, it's tough because I want to do another project, but I don't want to get half way through it and then put it aside. With the Vipers we have for drifting and the Charger that we are building, I feel that the new Charger is the closest I'm going to get right now to a classic.
MM: What's your favorite Mopar racecar? Of any that go down a race track, whether it's drag racing or drifting or whatever?
SC: I'd probably say Gary Scelzi's funny car. The thing with it, obviously funny cars are a lot different from what I'm used to driving, but if you look at Scelzi's car and Schumacher's car at that, Scelzi always has a cool paint job. Oakley is always there to step up that almost monster truck kind of look and if you really get down and look at all the parts of the car, being a HEMI engine. If you look at a "Ford" funny car or a "Toyota" funny car, they are all interchangeable with the Mopar parts so as far as I am concerned, every car out there in funny car is Mopar. But I think by far, Scelzi's car is my favorite.