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Heading into early retirement

Three-time CMP karting champ Joseph Lamberth will be moving up in class into racing Legend cars

Posted: December 14, 2015 4:14 p.m.
Updated: December 15, 2015 1:00 a.m.
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JOSEPH LAMBERTH IS CONGRATULATED by his grandfather and Camden resident Paul Appleton after Lamberth clinched the 2015 Powerad Karting championship at Carolina Motorsports Park last month.

Joseph Lamberth started racing go-karts four short years ago, at the age of 10, at Carolina Motorsports Park in Westville.

What started as a hobby for him and his grandfather, Paul Appleton of Camden, to have together quickly turned into a way of life for Lamberth who lives, eats and breathes racing. Once Joseph entered his first race, he was racing against kids that had been racing for about three years longer than him and he had a lot of learning to do. 

His first year, he entered the Minimax division. Lamberth fought with all he had but was only able to get no higher than several third place podium positions. He went to his first National race at Michiana Raceway in South Bend, Ind., and finished 27th while going up against the best karters in the country. While in South Bend, his love for racing not only blossomed, but a new love was born as Lamberth developed an affinity for racing in the rain. Who knew racing an inch off the ground and traveling 50 miles per hour in the pouring rain could be so much fun. 

By the end of the first season, Lamberth found himself without a championship but with plenty of new knowledge that he would carry into season two. 

With one year under his belt, Lamberth entered season two, again in the Minimax division, with a desire to try and win one race. Little did he know that he was going to do more than that. Lamberth posted eight first place finishes, seven seconds and a third place finish along with three top fives. He found himself racing not only at CMP but at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, N.C., and in Ocala, Fla. 

Lamberth competed in his second Nationals race in Mooresville and he had hopes for a top finish. Not only did he accomplish that but he came in 15th place. His second year racing was a memorable one but winning his ticket to the World Finals in New Orleans was the icing on the cake for Lamberth. He headed to New Orleans just hoping finish the race because he knew this was going to be one of the hardest races he had ever entered. In true “Joe” fashion he did what he does best and drove to an 18th place finish in a second year of racing which brought him his first championship at CMP and a runner-up finish in the GoPro Motorplex Championship. 

Knowing that 2014 was his final year racing in the Minimax division, due to age restrictions and heading into the Junior Division in 2015, Lamberth found himself running between South Carolina and Florida for most of that season. 

He recorded nine wins, with two second place finishes. He would try his luck in his third National race, now hoping for a top 10 finish. He traveled to Utah for this race which was run at Miller Motorsports Park. He qualified 15th, finish the heat race in 10th and after a little shuffling around, he finished the final in 12th place. 

In addition, 2014 saw Lamberth clinching his second championship at CMP with two races remaining in the season. Rather than run the final two races, Lamberth and Appleton decided to get a head start on 2015 by driving in Junior Division races in order to get a head start on the next season. In his first run with the Juniors, Lamberth finished fourth in a field which included racers he first competed against three years earlier and who, again, were more experienced drivers.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Lamberth’s slate of races was curtailed but he was on the track every chance he got. A two-time Minimax Division Champion, his goal was to win the Junior class in his first time out.

 In the season’s first points race, Lamberth took the checkered flag while driving in speeds of 70-plus miles per hour. By late summer, he competed in his fourth nationals, this time held at CMP, his home track.

Deciding this would be his year for an outstanding finish at Nationals, the other drivers had different plans as Lamberth was pushed around, spun around, run over, beaten, battered and abused all weekend. At one point, Lamberth spun himself out, in turn taking out another driver accidentally but they both were able to overcome the spin out. 

In the heat race, Lamberth was taken out and finished dead last meaning he would start the final in Nationals at his home track in last place. Saying, “It’s okay, because I have a plan,” Lamberth went out for the final in last and drove his way to a ninth-place finish, his best finish at a National event. 

Lamberth finished 2015 with four wins, four seconds, a third and one top-five finish en route to winning his third straight CMP championship as a rookie in the very strong and competitive Junior division.  

In all of the excitement of another championship year, Joseph and Appleton decided that this would be his last year racing go-karts: They wanted to move onto a new adventure. This adventure is going to help bring him closer to his dream of racing in NASCAR one day. At the age of 14, Lamberth is going to “retire” from karts and move into racing Legends cars. This will put him in a circuit of racing oval track and a couple of road courses. He said he is excited to give this a shot but a little nervous because this is going to be a whole new world for him. 

In four short years, Lamberth has raced on seven different tracks all over the country, raced in 73 races, had 25 poles, won 25 heat races, had 22 total wins and a total of 40 podiums. 

None of this, he said, would be possible if it were not for his grandparents that have supported him and been his sponsors. Not only have they sponsored him, but Appleton has been his coach, tuner, mechanic and motor coach driver, as well, as at times when they are away from home while being the man who makes sure all Lamberth’s homework gets done. 

While Lamberth has a talent for driving in the rain, had it not been for his grandfather standing out in the pouring rain on numerous occasions to help him learn and practice driving in the rain, they would not have had the success that they have had in rain races.

As he embarks on a new endeavor, Lamberth thanked many people for his success thus far including the staff CMP for providing a great driving track and all of his fans and family that have supported him by means of social media or traveling to watch him over the last four years. 

If you would like to follow Joseph on social media please check him out on Facebook at Joseph Lamberth Racing), Instagram (JosephLamberthRacing) and on the web at www.josephlamberth.com.


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