VALDOSTA -- Travis Carter can drive a go-kart fast.

And he's only 11.

Carter, a Dasher native and a sixth grader at Georgia Christian, is in Margaretsville, N.C. this weekend, competing at the World Karting Association's nationals.

Carter is one of the nation's best go-karters in his age group (10-12 years). Going into nationals, he ranked fifth in the nation in the heavy classification, and ninth in the light class. A good showing at nationals could thrust him into the Top 5 in both.

"We are extremely proud of Travis, and all he's accomplished," his father, Winston Carter, Jr., said. "He doesn't even realize what he's done, winning all those races. He just enjoys racing."

In his short racing career (just over three years), Carter has won over 50 races. He's also finished second more than 20 times, and been the fastest qualifier 10 different times. All that makes for quite a trophy collection, one that will surely grow much bigger in time.

Earlier this year, Carter won the Georgia championship in the heavy class, and placed second in the light class.

Last year, he placed second in light and third in heavy at state (the difference between classes is that 15 pounds of weight are added to the carts for heavy).

Last December, Carter qualified third (out of 87 karts) at the Daytona World Dirt Nationals. In the race, he was running fifth when a lapped kart wrecked him and pushed him back to 12th.

Travis Carter first started racing go-karts when he was seven, back in 1999. It took him just a month to win a race, and then the wins started pouring in. He won the points championship at South Georgia Kartway and finished third in points at Crossroads Motorplex in Jasper, Fla.

"He was good at it almost immediately," his father said.

Carter dreams of one day becoming a late model racer, or perhaps even racing stock cars in NASCAR.

"A high percentage of NASCAR drivers started out in go-karts, and moved up," his father said. "Travis knows that, and has shown some interest in maybe one day trying to do that. But that's a long time away."

But racing is not Travis Carter's entire life.

Carter is also a straight-A student at Georgia Christian, and plays basketball there. He hopes to one day follow in his sister Ashley's footsteps, and play high school basketball for the Generals.

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