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Sixteen year old Gracie Brown started racing only three years ago and she is already turning heads with her rapid progress and natural talent. The journey started in 2017 as she began racing rental karts at a local track. A kart shop owner saw her drive and approached her with the idea of driving real race karts. Gracie started racing and eventually made her way to the Italian Motors team. A couple of weeks ago, Gracie participated in her first National race, Challenge of the America’s, competing in the Jr.100 category. In the driver journal below, Gracie documents her experience during the weekend and what she hopes to achieve at future races.
Driver Journal – Gracie Brown
When I first heard I was going to go down to Calspeed for the Challenge of the Americas race it did not really set in that I was actually going. As we got closer to the date it became, I started to get nervous because before this past weekend I have never been to a race of that much competitiveness. As I headed to the race, I of course wanted to win, but since it was my first big travel race, I set a goal to finish top ten.
When I arrived in California on Tuesday it finally became real to me, and it was kind of hard to sleep that night. The next three days I had practice to learn the track and improve my times. After Friday I started to become physically tire, but on Saturday my tiredness went away probably from the adrenalin of the race.
I was so excited to participate in the race, but also so nervous. On Saturday I qualified 6th out of 20 and during the first heat I was involved in a wreck that bent my chassis. This was the hardest part of the weekend for me, as I knew I did not have a chance to win starting in last and with a bent chassis. I was told with a bent chassis it would be extremely hard to turn, however I still chose to go out for the final. I was able to work my way up to 15th out of 20, which did not accomplish my goal, but I felt was good finishing in that position with a bent chassis.
The next day was a little bit better because I switched chassis. I qualified 10th which scared me a little bit because I would be on the outside for the first turn. During the first heat I finished 10th, and luckily avoided all wrecks. Even though I was faster than my qualifying session and had lap times faster than those ahead of me, I was starting to get frustrated with myself in that I did not pass anyone or get closer to the front of the pack. I was determined to do better. During the final I was able to work my way up to 6th out of 20. I felt good about this, especially with it being my first big race.
After the race was over, I was surprised to see that the two other girls in my class got podium. Kart racing is mainly filled with boys and very few girls, so this was cool to see.
As I was headed home from the race weekend, I felt extremely tired and wanted to sleep. I was not used to racing for so many days in a row, and I could definitely feel it. As I look forward to the next big race, I will work on increasing my stamina which will improve my overall performance.