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The Checkered Flag...

aka…, “All Good Things Must Come To an End”
I am not sure who made that statement and frankly, I’m not sure that I like the saying. But…, after this racing season, I can definitely say this…
“I would like to share with everyone my amazing NASCAR Drive for Diversity experience!”
It all got started when I convinced my parents to let me travel to Washington State to race my Sprint car in Elma and Yakima during the Fall of 2008. I had an amazing time in Washington. Aside from being involved in a couple of great sprint car races, I also went fishing and fell in love with the Evergreen State. I was blogging all about it on my website. During this time, I had applied for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program but was unaware of my acceptance.
I was at home working in Fargo, ND when I got a phone call from the D4D people informing me that I would be one of 25 drivers to fly to South Boston, VA and compete for 12 coveted spots on racing teams being distributed by NASCAR all across the USA. I was so excited to be one of the twelve chosen out of over 200 applicants!
Little did I know three guys from Monroe, Washington were reading my blogs posts. They were thinking about asking me to drive an asphalt car for them because of my association with the D4D program. It was then that the set up began to coalesce.
Darin Stordahl contacted me before I made the trip to South Boston and related that he had read my blog and was extremely interested in having me drive for their team. They just needed to see if I could back up all the great reports from the Sprint car racers they knew in Washington!
The first time I met Darin Stordahl, Jeff Knight and Roger Habich (aka Total Velocity Motorsports), I was looking at them who were all dressed in their True Religion jeans and affliction shirts and designer sunglasses thinking, “Who are these guys?
Little did I know, they would become part of my family.
After the combine, we had several discussions and I packed my bags and moved across the country to Washington State. I was very nervous heading out on my own, but from the start everyone on the team made me feel right at home.
After a few months of assembling the race car, “The Miss” (Car #94) and I were ready to start the season. I remember my first race like it was yesterday; going down the back stretch before the green flag and the two cars in front of me bouncing off one another. I radioed Roger, whose role on the team is Crew Chief, “These guys are crazy! They are hitting each other already!” Roger just laughed. After the first heat race, Roger radioed me, “Girl, you can race! We are going to have a great season!”
The season began with our first few races on the 3/8th‘s track, and then our fifth race brought us onto the big 5/8th’s mile track… This is where the guys say, “The hot rod went crazy!”
I have really enjoyed the bigger tracks all my life. I grew up racing on the half mile in Fargo, ND, and, of course, my FAVORITE track is the half mile in Knoxville, IA. This was my time to show everyone, “What I got.” I started in the ninth position and the entire race I made moves that the guys say, “no one makes.” I made a pass with my lefts in the grass, a three wide pass into turn 3, and even passed seven time champion Tom Moriarty on the outside (sorry Tom…, still the highlight of my whole season, lol).
As the season continued, my communication skills with Roger improved and so did our finishes and track times. We had our low points, but that was to be expected. When I would get down, Jeff (who is my car owner and also my teammate) was always right there to motivate me and give me the encouragement that I needed.
Everyone on the #94 race team played their roles perfectly!
Roger Habich: Crew Chief & Role model - always encouraging me on the radio to keep going, never give up, and if we didn’t have the night I had hoped for he was the first one to point out what we had learned and how we can get better from it. Roger would never let me get down on myself.
Aaron Hoskin: Spotter & Fill in Crew Chief - always helping me to relax while on the race track; telling me to “blink, breath, and relax my hands.” He was the calming force. If I was upset or discouraged by my performance, he could make me laugh, no matter what.
Cris Engel: Watchman - always making sure everyone was doing their job and making sure it was done RIGHT! He’s the guy who would have a few words of wisdom for me or, after the race say, “Awesome Job!” with his phone in hand!
Toby Jenkins (Motorsports) - My right hand man! Always with me till the moment I pulled out on the track to race. He made sure I had everything I needed; even running to fetch my water bottle when I forgot it! Oh! And, he was always the one who would get the most nervous when I would make an outside pass or even a pass at all!
Stevie Craig: Data Ninja - the one I could truly vent too. She always made sure I was taken care of. She is my “big sis.” She has the ability to make me laugh so hard by cracking some sort of crazy joke when the mood needed to be lightened.
Jeff Knight: Teammate, Car Owner, mentor, and the one who never let me get dispirited. He would be there to inspire me with so many words of wisdom and would always remind me that, “You can do this!”
These past eight months, we continued to grow as a team and as a family. My mom says “strangers are family you haven’t met yet.” It’s so true! People who started out as strangers are now my family. I can never thank them enough for all the sacrifices, hard work, and dedication they put into our race team.
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