Today I wanted to share about my journey and how I got to where I am today!
I grew up watching my dad race and on nights and weekends we helped him work on the cars in the race shop at home. When I was 10, I started racing with my little sister and a Junior Dragster. Between the ages of 16-18, I raced both Junior Dragster and Super Comp Dragster, won two track championships, and traveled on our own to two local tracks just as soon as I got my driver’s license.
I graduated from Junior Dragster after 18 years old and only raced Super Comp through college on my own with my little sister while Dad traveled the NHRA tour. During that time, I wrote press releases and updated the website for my dad, made hero cards, and stayed in touch with his sponsors during the season, and we attended trade shows every year.
In college, I studied marketing, communications, and graphic design. Eventually, I dropped the marketing and communications and focused solely on graphic design management, web design, and print production. I worked internships at a sports marketing firm and a local print shop, had jobs as a department designer and event coordinator (for which I was awarded student employee of the year for the school and the state of Kansas), and started a freelance design business for race teams.
I continued marketing for Dad’s team as he was getting more success on the track and making a name for himself. In order to build up a network inside and out of the racing industry, I kept attended trade shows and other conferences and joined all kinds of groups.
In 2013, I started licensing for NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster, and I officially licensed in 2015 before competing in two races that summer—I was runner up at my first race! I graduated from school in December 2015 and took over the team manager role for the RMR team, which included bookkeeping, marketing, advertising, designing, sponsorships, crew travel and itinerary, stock parts, inventory, merchandising, shipping, selling parts, and more.
I did my first TAD race in March 2016, finishing as the runner-up in my debut at the GatorNationals. I finished 4th in the nation and 2nd in the region after winning the Charlotte 4-Wide Nationals, and earned driver and rookie of the year. During that time, I learned how wrong a sponsorship could go: I promoted a company as my title sponsor without a signed contract and they never provided the funding as promised. I’ve never made that mistake again. (And I help other racers never make such a money-costing blunder).
Collectively, I’ve won 23 races in TAD (40 total for my entire career), 2 world championships, 3 regional championships, 4 driver-of-the-year awards, the world record of 5.09 ET in the quarter-mile, winningest female in the league.
I didn’t have a “true” title sponsor until 2018 when NGK Spark Plugs signed me as their first funded driver. I still have them as a title sponsor for the team to this day! We worked together to build up exposure on social media for both of us and promotional campaigns online. Also, I hired an agent to help with sponsorships in retail where I learned a lot of lessons of how to come up with offers and speak to the public, but broke even after monthly retainers and fees, so I didn’t continue with the agency after 2019.
During COVID in 2020, I created a social media e-course since work was slow and racing was stopped, shortly after I added sponsorship coaching to teach racers what I’ve learned over the years.
I retired in 2020 after getting married and winning my 2nd world championship. In August, we welcomed our first child, Henry!
This year, I’ve put in more time and effort into my education/freelance design business and reaching more racers online in all forms of motorsports. I transitioned my brand from race car driver to motorsports marketing and branding, and I hired a couple of part-time helpers to keep it going while I still manage the race team and help at my parent’s other business. My goal is to reach 6-figures in my business by the end of this year and continue to reach and help out new racers around the world.
The reason why I’m telling you this today is: Here’s what I want you to takeaway from this post: when you reach your goals, you have to work hard to stay at the top.
And that can sometimes add extra pressure and stress (which isn’t fun at all). I don’t want you to be intimidated by others’ success stories or their wins; I want you to be inspired, and I want you to learn. Because learning from the guys who are doing a great job will help you get to where you want and deserve to be.