North Branch, MI
The words “Dream Big, Work Hard” adorn the interior of Mason Ludwig’s race trailer. These simple words are always kept in perspective by the Ludwig family, as they continue building a racing career for “Racin’ Mason”. When Mason was just 6 years old, he was racing across the family’s cow pasture side-by-side in one of his dad’s Autocross Bump-N-Run cars, dodging cows and throwing cow pies in the process. From a very early age, it was obvious to those that knew Mason that he had a natural driving ability and a need for speed that could simply not be ignored. It was nothing to see Mason driving these little race cars or operating his dad’s skidsteer or zero turn lawn mower on any given day. His parent’s, Rick and Jaime Ludwig, made the decision to get the family, including Mason’s twin brother, Trenton, involved in racing while Mason was still young, in hopes of one day reaching his racing dreams.
Karting was where they would start the journey. The Ludwig’s purchased Mason’s first kart in 2010. Mason was just 7 years old at the start of the season. The family was going in cold, with no previous karting or real racing experience for that matter. Mason’s first laps were quite slow and cautious but it didn’t take long for him to get the feel of the kart and really take off. He took his first championship in his 2nd year of karting at the age of 9 in 2011 at Arthur Raceway in Reese, MI. The following season, Mason and his team stepped it up competing for 2 championships at Arthur Raceway and running the Burris Thunder Tour Midwest series. The Ludwig’s struggled during this season but Mason still managed to pull off a 2nd place championship at Arthur Raceway. “We didn’t have a great season in 2012 but we learned that we enjoyed traveling and racing at different tracks.” said Jaime Ludwig. So the decision was made to make some changes to the racing program for the 2013 season where they primarily focused on the Burris Thunder Tour. Mason came away from the Burris Thunder Tour’s Mid-Summer Shootout with a 2nd place, his best finish during the series. Mason was ecstatic and for the first time really felt like he deserved to be where he was. This was a real moment of confidence for Mason, whereas, he finally felt like he was as good as the top team, big sponsor drivers he was competing against. Those drivers that he looked up to and strived to beat were congratulating him. The team was excited to hit the next couple of races but during this time, word quickly spread that the series was in trouble. Not long after, the Burris Thunder Tour was cancelled and the team had some big decisions to make.
After months of scouring the internet and making contact with several different sources and racing avenues, the decision was made to register Mason in the new Bandolero series being offered at Spartan Speedway in Mason, MI. Mason was the very first Bandolero driver on the track and the very first heat winner. The season started while Mason was still in school, so he’d have to leave school early every Friday to make the almost 2 hour trip to the race track. Mason made every race during the season. He had tough competition but his consistency on the track paid off. Mason won the first ever Spartan Speedway Napa My Place for Parts Bandolero championship at the age of 11. If you ask Mason, he will tell you this was his proudest moment in racing. “It was awesome bringing my car to a stop on the front stretch of the track and being announced as the first ever Bandolero Champion at Spartan Speedway.” Said Mason.
That race, however, was Mason’s last ride at Spartan Speedway in a Bandolero, as true to the Ludwig’s methods, Mason will be moving on to the next step in his career. “We have always felt that Mason is only as good as his competition. We don’t ever want to get so comfortable that it’s not a challenge for him or us.” Said Rick. After careful consideration and approval from Michigan Legends, the decision was made for Mason to make the transition into a Legends race car at the early age of 12 years old. At the beginning of Mason’s racing career, he and Rick came across the Legends while watching youtube videos. At that point he decided he wanted to one day race a Legends car. Little did the Ludwig’s realize that one day would come this soon.
“I get asked a lot if it scares me that he races. I tell people that of course it is nerve-wracking but ultimately, I trust in my son’s abilities and I have every confidence in the world in him. When he is in his race car, he is very in tuned with what is going on all around him on that track.” states Jaime. “We have had many ups and downs to this point but Mason never gives up. He has a good head on his shoulders and is very grateful for the opportunity to do what he loves. Mason always gives 110% at the track and always strives to drive a clean, consistent race”, concludes Jaime.
It goes without saying that Mason wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for his racing partners. Wickt, LLC, is a clothing business the Ludwig’s formed to help offset the expenses of Mason’s racing. Their designs are based around how they live (how every racer lives), full throttle and wide open. Mason has also been very fortunate to have had the support of Dietrich’s Collision, Don’s Auto Repair, DieTech Tool & Mfg. and United Automotive, all based in Imlay City, MI and A&A Aggregates of North Branch, MI from the very beginning. When asked what it means to him to have sponsors supporting him, Mason said “I feel very lucky to have them believing in me. Knowing they are supporting me pushes me to do my very best for them.”