CLICK ON IMAGES TO VIEW FULL SIZE
Racecar spelled backwards is racecar. You can spell it upside-down or inside-out, but it's all the same. Yet some people still insist on projecting their own baggage onto reality and attempting to twist it into something it isn't - like perceiving the women of motorsports to be a threat. SGE covers female racers regularly, as a matter of course. But out in the world, I'm often reminded that not everyone shares that gender blindness. Luckily, when I venture out of my cocoon, I continue to find more racing women. My belief that we all cross paths for a reason has inspired me to share some bits of their stories here, so you can join me in cheering them on. Surely, the force of the SGE Nation can propel these gals to the Winners Circle. Actually, they all seem to be doing just fine so far without our help. But I'll keep cheering until they reach equal numbers with the guys, then I can cheer them just for who they are and not for what they are. That will be a great day for all of us, whether we recognize it or not.
THIS HAS BEEN A SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN FROM SGE. WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG POST, ALREADY IN PROGRESS.
In rural Panama, Iowa, Beth Main has been helping her partner Tim Jones with his flathead competition coupe project for the last couple of years. Beth has enjoyed getting her hands dirty and experiencing the satisfaction of taking an idea from Point A to Point B. The little digger is progressing nicely ("But Tim keeps changing his mind about everything!"), and so has Beth's interest turned to passion.
Upon discovering an abandoned 1915 Ford body shell and chassis in one of Tim's barns, Beth worked a deal with Tim, and set out to build her first car from scratch, herself. Beth researched the possibilities and decided on a traditional approach to the T, ultimately realizing that nothing could be more trad than a Ford Speedster. And so it has come to pass that a road and track speedster is coming to life right beside a '50s-era dragster in a barn surrounded by vast fields of snow in America's heartland. When the spring thaw arrives and crop rotation turns from snow to edibles, Iowa livestock will have two more unwieldy vehicles to dodge on gravel roads, drag strips and fairground oval tracks. Unless Beth and Tim change their minds a few more times. But there's always next year. Stay tuned for updates.
Holly just wanted to drag race like her hero, dad Kevin Clarke. The British Columbia native finally found a Junior Dragster seat at age eight and has been unstoppable since. "My mom told dad not to pressure me into it. There was definitely no pressure needed. I couldn't wait to hop in that driver's seat!" Kevin's pals razzed him with remarks like, "Kevin, she's the son you always wanted." To which he replied, "Why can't she be the daughter I always wanted?" Holly adds, "He never lets the fact that I'm a woman be an excuse for anything. One day, I hope to teach my own kids these same values."
Holly is already teaching lessons via her actions on the track. In the twelve years since her first Jr. Dragster pass, she has amassed six championship trophies in her '68 Nova. She parked the Nova for the 2011 season, to focus on earning her Automotive Service Technician certificate, then came back stronger than ever. There's only one explanation for this: "The rush of racing - and especially winning - is very addicting. It's a feeling that you really crave. I think an adrenaline rush is very healthy. Even as a kid, I loved anything that gave me that drop feeling in my stomach. I like to feel a little frightened and push myself. Racing gives me that, especially during competition." And the payoff for pushing oneself from the comfort zone lasts a lifetime. Talk about win/win!
While frantically channel surfing for some racing action, I sometimes come across the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series insanity and stomp the brakes. This is one of the most mesmerizing motorsports today, with jawdropping action every second of every heat. I was most impressed with Corry Weller's #18, constantly flirting with disaster and winning more often than not. I thought, 'this guy is my kind of crazy!', but I received a big surprise when I finally saw Corry being interviewed after a recent race. I stand by my declaration that Corry is my kind of crazy. But learning that Corry is a woman (I noticed right away in the interview) has only earned more of my respect.
This type of racing is foreign to me, so I don't claim to understand the class structure or the rules. Here's what I do know: Corry started racing motocross on quads in 2001 and did it for five years. Meanwhile, husband Jason was building his own line of Yamaha Rhino quads, equipped with 140+ horsepower CBR600 drivetrains - a tall step up from their previous 60-horse rating. That was great preparation for off road truck racing, "except I can't use my body weight to get around corners anymore." By 2012, the Arizona native had worn out her copy of the Dust to Glory film and was wheeling Pro 4 trucks through the LOORRS circuit: "Here was motocross racing, but 100 times better. I was hopelessly in love. The power-to-weight ratio is about the same, so it was a pretty easy transition." Now deeply involved in the LOORRS, Corry's Pro 4 program has strengthened, culminating in victories. She runs the truck program solo, while Jason tends to his Weller Racing enterprise in Chandler, Arizona.
What's the main difference between the quads and trucks? "If I screwed up a jump in the motocross, I'm hitting the ground and breaking bones. There's blood and hospitals. The trucks eliminate most of that, because you have the seat, the harness and the cage. Now I'm just out there having a blast and going fast."
The roots run so deep. Sadie Floyd was lucky enough to be born into the storied Floyd family - truly legendary in Northwest drag racing. Lucky, because she was born with drag racing in her blood and was surrounded by understanding family. Not so lucky, when it was discovered at two years of age that her royal blood carried leukemia. Sadie nearly died more than once, but was finally declared cancer-free at six years old, following years of intense treatment. Then she was off to the races. Sadie buzzed a little '32 Ford roadster go kart around Northwest pits. She crewed on her dad John's '48 Anglia until getting her first Jr. Dragster at age 11. Since winning the regional championship, Sadie Floyd has also excelled in the Pro, Super Pro, Super Comp and Top Dragster classes. Now 22 years old and a marketing student at Portland State University in Oregon, Sadie has recently made the news again.
The cute little girl I used to impatiently watch putting her Jr. Dragster through the 1/8th mile (and playing in the pits around family patriarch Earl Floyd's front engine dragsters) has now climbed the roots of her family tree straight to the top. Last week, Sadie licensed for A/Fuel in Jerry Darien's latest juggernaut. That's right, uber-coach Darien has now anointed our own little Sadie Floyd with the very mentoring wand that turned Gary Scelzi, Melanie Troxel, Brandon Bernstien, Morgan Lucas, Ashley, Britany and Courtney Force into Big Show stars, seemingly overnight. I barely know Sadie, yet feel an almost overwhelming sense of pride, buffered with some protective apprehension. This couldn't have happened to a more deserving person or family. We local yokels will be watching carefully as Darien tutors her to somewhere. And Sadie vows to use the opportunity to continue her campaign for leukemia awareness.
SQUIRREL AND TOOLBOX
No matter how cool your toolbox is, it's what you do with those wrenches that counts. So this week we salute a guy who knows how to handle a wrench (discovered by Motormouth Ray).