Packing their bags and traveling nearly 3,000 miles from Snohomish, Wash., to North Carolina was no obstacle for Nick and Rowan Carey as the brothers pursue their dreams of racing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

The Carey brothers are spending the summer in the Tar Heel state in order to compete in the 10-race Summer Shootout Series, which runs each Tuesday night on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"We have grown up around racing," said 18-year-old Nick Carey.  "Everyone always told us if we wanted to make it in racing we had to go to the East Coast. We heard about the Summer Shootout, and we were doing really well in the Legends Cars on the West Coast. So we decided to come down."

"We are here for the whole summer, renting a house in Kernersville near Winston-Salem, and we can learn more about racing just by being out here," 20-year-old Rowan Carey added. "We learned practically a year's worth of education in just the first week. We changed more on our cars in one week than we ever have before."

After viewing the Summer Shootout on SPEED Channel last winter, the Carey brothers knew racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway needed to be the next step in their careers.

"I love it down here. Everyone is into racing," Nick Carey said. "You go to a gas station and they are even talking racing. Everyone at least knows someone involved in it. At home they are like, 'You race what, and you want to do what? Is that like drag racing?' Not many people are interested in racing in Washington."

Darrald Carey, the boys' father, accompanied them on the 48-hour drive to North Carolina, but is "commuting" by air between here and his business in Washington state.

"We found out about the Summer Shootout on television and a friend, Tommy Jordan, said 'You guys have got to get down here,' because we were taking it to the guys in the Northwest pretty good and this is where the best of the best are," the elder Carey explained. "This is basically their school for the summer, and the goal is for them to learn as much as they can. This is their dream and I wanted them to take a shot at it."

The Carey brothers started racing quarter-midgets nine years ago and the sport has become an integral part of their daily lives. "When we are on vacation and we are not racing, it feels weird. I always feel like I should be racing," Rowan Carey said.

After their first taste of Summer Shootout competition, the Carey brothers quickly realized racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway was quite different from anything they had experienced.

"The biggest difference between this track and others that we are used to racing on is the competition level," Nick Carey said. "But the cool part was getting our butts kicked-it keeps us humble. Back home, we were always the ones winning and always getting chased. Now we are the ones chasing, and it's a whole lot more fun."

"Yeah, you can learn a lot more chasing guys than you can be getting chased," Rowan Carey added. "At home, the competition is really good, but we have a pretty good handle on them. We are to the point that if we don't win at home, we are disappointed. Out here, if we could win one of these Summer Shootout races that would be unbelievable."

The Carey brothers are enjoying the tough competition because they know it will make them better drivers.

"Back home they draw about 30 cars on a really good night and consider that a big event. Here there are over 200 cars racing, so it is a really big deal. There are 10 to15 guys that are exactly the same speed and it makes for good racing which makes you a better driver," said the younger of the Carey brothers. "This is something that we put everything into, so whatever happens from here happens."

Lowe's Motor Speedway's 14th annual Summer Shootout, which runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 7 with a special Wednesday night event on July 4, features three classes of Bandolero racing, four divisions of Legends Cars and the Thunder Roadsters.

Admission is just $7 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free.

Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:30 p.m.  Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. For information, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.