Nightly News   |  August 22, 2013

Already racing royalty, 12-year-old builds her own legacy on the track

Karsyn Elledge, the granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt, is an aggressive driver who is unrivaled by both girls and boys. NBC’s Katy Tur reports

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>>> finally tonight, a young lady with a legendary name now going into the family business . more than 12 years ago when the great dale earnhardt died in a crash at the daytona 500 , he was just 49 years old, and his granddaughter carson was just 5 months old. tonight, nbc's katy tur introduces us to the newest member of the earnhardt racing family.

>> reporter: on the outside, carson may look like your typical pre-teen, riding bikes, styling hair and snapping selfies. but on the inside, she's an earnhardt, race car royalty. dale earnhardt was her grandfather, dale jr . her uncle.

>> it's like i've got cars going through my blood veins. i know it sounds crazy but it's true.

>> reporter: pedal to the metal , 45 miles an hour on a dirt track . why do you like racing so much?

>> i like racing because i like going fast.

>> you like a little danger.

>> yeah.

>> reporter: for the last three months, carson toured the west racing with her dad. call it her summer school .

>> i knew that my grandfather and my uncle were race car drivers, famous ones, but it didn't all start really sinking in, and i didn't really start thinking about it until i was 11.

>> she reminds me of my dad and especially her aggressive nature on the track.

>> reporter: carson has literally grown up on the tracks, but a few years ago she decided it was time she took the wheel, racing and winning with her granddad's legendary number 3. nickelodeon noticed in june and sponsored her cart. here carson is unrivaled by both the girls and the boys. are they intimidated by you, do you think?

>> probably. most likely.

>> reporter: why is that?

>> because i come on strong.

>> go get them, girl.

>> thank you.

>> reporter: tonight's race is her last before school, and she is lapping the competition until carson clips another car and goes headfirst into the wall. a scary moment for the pre-teen, even scarier for mom who ran to her side. but carson was okay, one crash not enough to stop her from racing.

>> accidents can happen anywhere, and you can't live life in a bubble trying to prevent something from happening or you're going to lose what life is about.

>> reporter: by monday, the crash is old news. for now, it's back to school but never quite back to normal for a girl with the legacy of champions and the drive to live up to it. katy tur, nbc news, salisbury, north carolina .