Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Sprint Car Girls Turns One!"


It's hard to believe Sprint Car Girls is a year old! I cannot even begin to thank everyone who has supported our amazing group and made it what it is today!

When I began to visualize the concept, the original intention was for it to feature a few of the girls who were connected to a certain manufacturer. I pitched the idea to those girls and then presented it to the company. After consideration, the company decided to decline, which was totally understandable. In their defense, who honestly would think it'd work?

I try not to give up too easily, so after being told no, I tossed the idea around for a few days and decided to give it a try anyway. So, I approached the girls and told them we could try it and see what happened. It might work, there's a good chance it won't, so without much of an expectation, we began an amazing journey.


Sprint Car Girls officially became an entity on May 20th, starting out with it's original members of April Wilson, Sarena Paul, Ashley Cappetta, Tiffany Wyzard, Ashley Lewellen, Miranda Throckmorton, Jordan Weaver and Brittany Tresch. Soon after the launch, we received a message from a mini sprint driver with an amazing story and in a unanimous decision, Lexi Adgate was added to the team. Alysha Ruggles also expressed interest in joining so we welcomed her aboard and we set sight on making the page a reality.

Soon after, I felt the page needed something to help legitimize the group, so I approached Maria Melillo of FK Rod Ends hoping to be allowed to merely use the brand name to give the group credibility. However, Maria not only welcomed the idea with open arms, but also became the biggest supporter of the group, assisting in numerous ways! We don't truly give her and the group at FK the thanks and appreciation they deserve. Their support has been mind blowing!

Within the first week, the group surpassed my expectations and 500 likes. Then it soared past 750, 1000 and the number kept growing by leaps and bounds.

It didn't take long for the group to find success on track either. Within the first month, both Brittany and Jordan scored feature wins for the group. We also got to experience some exciting off-track news, as Sarena got engaged in front of a massive crowd while racing as an undercard for the 360 Knoxville Nationals! We also had a cool moment along the way, when Miranda and Tiffany signed in to compete together with the MOWA series in Central Illinois in early July.

However, the road hasn't always been so smooth, as our bond was tested when Alysha had her frightening mid-summer incident at her home track in Canandaigua. Thankfully, she rebounded fast, recovered fully, and has already picked up a feature win so far in 2014.

With our page continuing to grow, I felt we needed some extra help to keep things running smoothly so I approached close personal friend Heather Crowcroft to bring a different viewpoint into the equation. Heather was majoring in mass communications for college and jumped at the chance to join in. She readily admitted she was not knowledgeable in racing, but she has been a blessing, coming up with many of the ideas you see in action today. She quietly works behind the scenes, without any recognition for the amazing job she does for the group, but I am taking this time to personally thank her for everything! Heather, you rock!

Soon thereafter, our American season began to draw to a close, and I realized it would be a long, boring off-season for our followers. In order to keep things interesting, I brought forth the idea of adding some Australians to our family.

In November, we officially launched our global campaign, adding our first 4 nonwing members. We welcomed Lucy Evans, Mikaela Blyton, Stacey Galliford and Bianca Reeves to the group. We also wanted to recognize the tremendous winged talent down under and added Kristy Ellis, Hayley Sayers, Rhiannon Burleigh and Nicole Hill as our winged warriors and the page ultimately began to take shape as what it is today.

As with all things, change is inevitable. Miranda decided to leave the group in mid- January as her tremendous work and college schedule took precedence over the group, which was completely understandable, but left a void in our family.

After much deliberation, we decided to fill said void, while opening things up to add an American nonwing driver. After receiving applications, we decide to add two and welcomed Kaitie O'Neal and Katrina Sautbine to the group. With these additions, we filled all of our intended spots, plus one!

As things have fallen into place, I continue to be truly amazed every day by this incredible team. Our group grew from a bunch of racers scattered around the world, many of which didn't know one another, into a close-knit family. All of our members interact daily amongst themselves in a special, secret administration page we have and there's times when I just sit back and watch, amazed. We have all grown to truly be the best of friends. There are times I wish everyone could see some of our discussions and badgering and bickering because it's better than any comedy club around!

Like all dysfunctional families, we have our issues, but at the end of the day, we are just that-a family. Everyone is quick to be a cheerleader and reach out to a fellow member who needs encouragement or support when they have a bad night or a personal issue. Sometimes I joke to people that I feel like a coach, a psychiatrist, a cheerleader and a referee all at the same time, but I truly wouldn't trade any of it for all the money in the world!

Everyone thinks of Sprint Car Girls as my thing, but it literally would not be possible without a tremendous group of girls. Everything you see on a daily basis is because of them. They take time out of their lives and schedules daily to do their own posts and interact with the fans. They bust their butts to produce the best possible product for our fans and it overwhelms me to think of the dedication they put in to Sprint Car Girls. I always say I didn't do this for me, I did it for them and my reward is seeing them grow as their fan base and public relations skills grow. These girls truly mean the world to me and it's very gratifying to see them flourish.

I cannot begin to thank the girls and their families enough for allowing all of this to happen and most of all, our great fans! We wouldn't have a page without our thousands of fans around the world! We do this for you guys and we appreciate everyone sticking with us and supporting us!
We have had some great people step up and help this group be what it is. Ashley Cappetta not only races as a member, she has also contributed tremendously with her business, Up To Speed Graphics. Between Ashley and myself, all of the graphically enhanced content you see has been done 100% within the group. Wendell Dickerman with The Engine Heater took a strong interest in the group and graciously donated one of their systems to be given to a lucky member, which the fans voted on. It was a big item to simply be given to the group and I cannot thank him enough for his extreme kindness. I also must thank Catherine Hogue, who not only took enough interest in our group to write a news article about Sprint Car Girls, but also had that article published in the Gettysburg, PA newspaper, bringing even more credibility and attention to our group. We also have to thank the countless photographers who allowed us to use their photos to help showcase the girls and their racing!

Seems like a lot for just the first year doesn't it? Yeah I'm pretty blown away myself! I cannot begin to express my appreciation and gratitude to each and every person who made my dream become a reality! If someone would've told me when we started this deal it would have over 4,200 likes and members in 8 states and 3 countries, I would have told you were crazy! But it's all too real and from myself and all of the girls within the group, we thank you!

We hope you'll continue to enjoy Sprint Car Girls! It's been an amazing ride and we have no intentions of letting it stop anytime soon!

-Justin

Friday, February 28, 2014

"Future Of The Sport Spotlight: Savannah Trantham"



For this week's "Future Of The Sport Feature", we are going to introduce you to up and coming Texan Samantha Trantham. Keeping with out normal theme, we are going to let Samantha tell you about herself!

 Hi, my name is Savannah Trantham.  I’m 20 years old and my hometown is Godley, Texas where I was born and raised.  I

n 2011, I moved to Stephenville, Texas to attend college at Tarleton State University.  I am currently a senior planning to graduate in December 2014 with a Bachelors Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast and Journalism.  After college I aspire to work for Fox Sports One or even NASCAR in the broadcasting department.  I never raced anything until the 2013 season.  Although I’ve never raced I always dreamed that I would and joked with my parents that, “since I’ve never found anything I’m good at before maybe racing really is my calling.”  For Christmas of 2013, my biggest gift was an A-Class 600 Mini/Micro Sprint from my parents.    
I never thought I’d be a contender for any top 10 at any race track after my rookie year.  On October 14th, Mountain Creek Speedway in Grand Prairie, Texas, announced its official TOP 10 in each class.  In the Wing 600 Mini Sprints, I came home with the 7th place in top 10 out of 75 or more drivers!
I started out driving for experience, “seat time” as everyone in the racing world calls it.  At times I felt like I was the only one that believed in me, believed that I could truly come home with a win.  Now I know my parents did, but at times when I’d come off the track being “lap traffic” I couldn’t help but think they were just telling me I did great job to keep my spirits up.  Kicking off my season, a little late after finding some errors in the car during practice sessions, my first official race was at 281 Speedway in Stephenville, Texas on July 21st.  After that I mainly raced at Mountain Creek Speedway, remember all for “seat time.” 

After some ‘ok’ races, I decided to change my scenery and race at Kennedale Speedway Park in Kennedale, Texas on August 31st.  This was the night I thought my dreams were all over.  My racing is all financially supported by my parents, and with racing every-weekend money can get tight when something gets broken on the car.  I was keeping up with the pack, started to gain ground to pass a few cars when in the middle of turn 1 and 2 my steering column broke in half and fell between my legs, the steering wheel now in my hands, the next thing I know, I’m headed straight into the wall in turn 2.  My dad kept telling me, “its’ okay we will fix it and be back on the track in no time.”  But since it was basically everything in the front end of the car, I could tell he was really worried about how quick this turn around would be. 

After lots of time, money, effort and extra hands from great friends made at the track, I was back in the car on September 13th ready to make a comeback from my big crash.  That night was one for the books, not only was it the first night back from a crash, but I brought home my first heat win in my rookie year!  Everyone laughed when I came off the track fist pumping in my car, but at that point all the drivers knew I wasn’t the ‘little princess’ they all treated me like putt-putting around the bottom, I was there to race. 

Then a few weeks later on September 28th everyone started to realize I was now a contender in their little battles.  It was a big show at Mountain Creek, a 25 lap feature and a thousand dollars to win.  Now to a girl who just sat in a race car for the first time three months earlier, I wasn’t there for the money I was there for seat time, but after my heat win I knew I had it in me to go far.  We started the feature and my car took off like a rocket, I took the lead and it was the best I had ever had.  Then, I start seeing my daddy’s hands get farther apart, telling me the guys behind me were losing ground.  After what seemed like 10 minutes, I finally start to see the flag man showing me half way, then ten to go, then five.  At this point I had to remind myself to breath, and trying to find a new line because mine was getting slick.  Sure enough, with four laps to go a guy comes around on my outside, I hit a slick groove on the track and I spun out straight into the infield.  After leading the whole race with four laps to go I didn’t even finish.
 


Everyone kept telling me not to be upset, and then finally I found the good in it all.  I proved myself, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I started, to let everyone know that I could do it.  I had gone from ‘never racing in my life’ to having a half a track lead in a 25 lap feature in three months.  I couldn’t have been more proud of myself and what I proved on the track; I did exactly what I came to do.  Well remember when everyone kept telling me “seat time,” and that all my races were for seat time.  I’m proud to say that my seat time also helped me bring home a 7th place yearly finish in my rookie year.

This season, I set goals for my self.  Some that include finishing top 5 at the end of the season at Mountain Creek Speedway, or even better to bring home the track title for 600 A-Class Mini Sprint at Mountain Creek.  A few smaller goals I’ve set would be to win at least 5 heat races, and win my first feature as well as continue to win some features.  I also would like to race at different tracks around Texas.  With lots of luck and support, I hope to be a competitor in the 2014 Triple Crown during Labor Day weekend, which is where 3 different races happen at Heart of Texas Speedway, Gator Motorplex, and Gulf Coast Speedway Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  

I wouldn’t be where I am this season without all the support and blessings I get from my countless friends, family and the Lord above.  I’d especially like to thank my parents, Jason Tyer, Factor 1 Racing, and Danny Debrick for the amazing effort and countless help they have given me in my first year of racing! Without their help I wouldn’t have been the competitor that I was my rookie year!  I’m looking forward to a great new season in 2014!  Giving all the glory to God! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Sprint Car Spotlight: Sierra Jackson"






For this week's "Sprint Car Spotlight", we are going to change things up a bit. Not only will we be returning to the States this time, we will also be featuring a new discipline of sprint car racing. We will be introducing you to Sierra Jackson, a winged asphalt sprint car racer! Keeping with what has become the theme lately, Sierra will be telling you about herself.


My name is Sierra Jackson; I am 21 years old, from Middleton, Idaho. I began dirt track racing at the age of six, in cage karts and mini sprints then graduated to asphalt 360 sprint car racing in 2006. I have had wins at racetracks throughout the Northwestern United States and in Canada. At 15, I became the youngest driver and first female to win a NSRA (Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association) race, the Rebel Jackson Memorial.


At 18, I became the youngest driver and first female to win a NSRA championship, doing so in 2011, also becoming the first Ford driver to do so. In 2012 I was the inaugural Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars champion. I’m the only female driver to win the prestigious Diamond Cup at Meridian Speedway, winning it in 2011, and the Daffodil Cup in Victoria, BC, Canada, as well as being a two time winner of the Naylor Memorial Classic. 


Outside of my race life I work full time at a local hospital and I’m a full time student at Boise State University.


 I definitely couldn’t have all my accomplishment without my team and sponsors:

  • Telmate Communication Systems
  • Spiers Construction
  • Stock Construction Management
  • Jon C Irby Landscaping
  • Speedmart
  • The Kart Shoppe

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Sprint Car Spotlight: Courtney O'Hehir "



We are once again heading "Down Under" for this week's "Sprint Car Spotlight". We be introducing you to young up and coming Courtney O'Hehir. As has become tradition, we are going to let Courtney tell you about herself!


My name is Courtney O'Hehir and I race wingless sprints. I am 19 years old, and I am from Sydney, NSW, Australia.

I started my racing career at 14 years old, in junior sedans making several podiums. I raced at Sydney Speedway, Nowra, Goulburn, and Dubbo.

I moved to a wingless sprintcar at age 18.  I only raced 4 race meetings in a wingless before my first roll over. It left me out of my racing for 8 months with two fractured vertebrae in my back, c6 and c7 vertebrae.

I came back this season with a fresh car. This season has been good for me, I've had motor problems all this season, although my cars straight, so I've been happy with that so far. I’ve recently been in two speedway magazines. Oval Express and Totally Speedway, and I am planning to race the 50 lapper at Lismore next month

I got into speedway from my step dad Cameron Burnham. He has crewed for a few sprintcars over the years, including Mitchell Dumesny, Dave Lambert, Roddy and Toby Bellbowen, as well as Joey Saldana and Jason Meyers whilst racing here in Australia.

My hopes for my future in speedway are to race 410 sprintcars someday.

I would like to thank my crew, fans and sponsors for all they're support:

  • Cameron Burnham
  • Ben McCartney
  • Monique O'Hehir
  • Dial Before You Dig
  • Stork 1 limousines
  • JoCo's Hair Design
  • Ultra Spray
  • B&B Graphics

Thursday, February 6, 2014

"Sprint Car Spotlight: Renee Petska"






This week's "Sprint Car Spotlight" feature is going down under This our first feature from Australia, but keeping with the recent theme, we are going to let Renee Tell you about herself!


 My name is Renee Pestka and I’m 19. This is only my second season of the wingless sprintcar division in South Australia. I started in speedway a few years ago after having a drive in my older brother’s 410ci sprintcar. I now have my own car to race. In only my second season, I have contested in many races; most which have resulted in top 10 finishes. My goal in Speedway is to compete in the 410ci Sprintcars class in the future ahead. In the years to come, I would also like to race in America, as that would be a dream come true.


For more information, be sure to check out www.reneepestkamotorsport.com or Renee Petska Motorsport on Facebook!


Renee’s sponsors include:

  • Pestka’s Bakery
  • Port Wakefield Wreckers
  • KJR Designs & Artwork
  • KNJ Photography & Design
  • Race Craft Designs

Friday, January 31, 2014

"Future Of The Sport: Raio Morgan"




For this week’s “Future Of The Sport” feature, we are going to introduce you to Raio Morgan. As has been the norm as of late, we are going to let her tell you about herself.

My name is Raio Morgan and I am 23 years old. I started my racing career at the age of 7 in a Quarter Midget. After 7 years in a quarter midget, a couple championships and over 100 wins I moved up to a Restricted 600 Micro.

My second year of restricted I won over half of the races I competed in, The Budweiser Outlaw Nations, the Summer Clash, as well as the points championship at Plaza Park Raceway in Visalia, California.
Soon after, I moved up to the most competitive class, Multi 600. I lived in Arizona, where I was attending high school and flew to California every weekend to race. This made it challenging to race for points, because I would miss a few races each season.

Earlier this month I competed at the Tulsa Shoot out in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I made my first appearance here in roughly 2005 where I competed in restricted and finished 3rd in the A-Main. This year I competed in A Class and Outlaw.

In the A Class I started 6th in my heat and finished 2nd, started 2nd in my qualifier and fell back a spot to 3rd. Started 1st in the B main and won it and went on to the LCQ and flipped on the 2nd lap running 4th. That ended my journey in A Class.

In outlaw I won my heat race, and finished 3rd in my qualifier. I won the B main and finished 3rd in my LCQ. I started 19th in the Outlaw A main, being 1 of the only 2 girls to make the main. After 50 straight green flag laps, I ended up 14th in the A Main.

None of this would be possible with out the help and support of my family, friends and sponsors. I have to give a special thanks to the Salmon Family and Visalia Window Company for everything they do to make this opportunity possible.

I don't know where racing may take me but as of now I am planning on running a micro in the Multi class for my 2014 season. I will be running for points at Plaza Park Raceway and Lemoore Raceway and hopefully be traveling back to the shootout at the end of the year!


Friday, January 24, 2014

"Future Of The Sport: McKenna Haase"


 

For this weeks’ “Sprint Car Spotlight” we are going to introduce you to McKenna Haase! Keeping with the recent features, we are going to let McKenna tell you about herself since she did such an excellent job!

I first fell in love with racing when I attended my first race at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, OK when I was in the 3rd grade, and I was instantly hooked on the sport!

By 5th grade I began racing at a public go-kart track in Knoxville, IA called Slideways Karting Center where I ran in the weekly men’s league in 2008 and 2009. It was through Slideways Karting Center I discovered English Creek Speedway, a 1/6th mile outlaw sprint kart track south of Knoxville.




I received the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Box Stock outlaw kart in August of 2009 and roughly two weeks later I traveled to Oskaloosa, IA to pick up my first racecar.

I raced at English Creek Speedway in the Box Stock class in 2010 and 2011 before moving up to micro sprint cars in 2012. My first year racing micro sprints in 2012 I ran the Restrictor and Open/Outlaw classes at 6 different tracks in 4 different states, and in 2013 I raced in the A-Class and Open/Outlaw classes at 9 different tracks in 5 different states.

Racing all over the country has given me the opportunity to gain incredible experience and meet some amazing people! These past four years of racing I have been very blessed with incredible sponsors, fans, family, and support, and I am looking forward to what the future has in store as I work my way towards reaching my goal of racing sprint cars at Knoxville!

For more information about McKenna’s racing, check out her website at http://mckennahaase.webs.com!