Racing towards a career
City student scores deal to design a NASCAR paint scheme
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/10/2021 (403 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Carter Friesen never thought his pastime would come to this, at least not so early in his career.
Friesen, 16, a budding graphic designer at Oak Park High School, left Thursday to attend a NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. That itself is exciting enough for any fan of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, but it’s what he’s going to see first-hand that’s really exciting — his own paint scheme on the No. 7 car driven by SS Green Light Racing driver Joe Graf Jr.
In April, he was posting on Twitter some of the NASCAR paint schemes he created in his spare time, and as luck would have it, Graf saw his work and the team commissioned him to design what would be placed on Graf’s car for two races, the first of which was last week in Kansas.
‘I always get final approval and we were pretty excited about it. It really stood out’
— SS Green Light Racing owner Bobby Dotter on Friesen’s design
“Most teams aren’t expecting some 16-year-old kid from high school to be designing paint schemes,” the Grade 12 student said. “I’ve always been interested in NASCAR. Even when I was four or five, when we went to stores that sold NASCAR die-casts, I would always buy one.
“I’ve always had a passion for designing, even just cars in general.”
When he was able to combine that interest with his interest in computers, it was a natural combination. He uses Adobe Photoshop to create the initial designs and then imports the results into Adobe Illustrator to create scalable versions teams use to create a vinyl wrap to cover the car.
Bobby Dotter, owner of SS Green Light Racing, said it was Graf who found Friesen’s designs online and made the pitch to the team.
“I always get final approval and we were pretty excited about it. It really stood out,” Dotter said in a telephone interview. “It represented a lot of change of pace, since a lot of the cars we’ve done have been blue and green.”
Dotter, who admitted that even now he doesn’t know where Winnipeg is located, said finding Friesen’s work, approving it for a pair of races and inviting him down to see it is part of his commitment to growing the sport.
“We need to get more young people involved. When I was younger, racing was really growing, really big,” he said. “The next generation after mine has not really embraced it.”
The visit will start in Charlotte, N.C., including a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, before taking the two-hour drive north to Martinsville, Va., for Saturday’s race.
Friesen said he’s had conversations with other teams and potentially has other deals lined up for next year, but can’t comment specifically until plans firm up. His plans now include graduating next June and then studying graphic design at Red River College.
Dotter expects to see more NASCAR paint schemes from Friesen in the years ahead.
“I wouldn’t be surprised; people are always looking for something different, and it’s not like he just took some paint scheme and changed the colours and added a new number, he created something unique. It’s totally possible.
“His location is the biggest thing, but today it’s easy to connect on the internet and people just gotta know he’s out there.
“Hopefully, we can accomplish that this weekend.”
Friesen is active on Twitter (@FriesenCreative) and Instagram (friesencreative).
Copy Editor, Autos Reporter
Kelly Taylor is a Winnipeg Free Press copy editor and award-winning automotive journalist. He's been a member of the Automobile Journalists' Association of Canada since 2001.