Drag racing and autocross in Davenport

By: Baleigh Ellis

November 13, 2016; 10:55 am

baleighracingphoto
Taken at the racetrack this summer. (Me driving at an autocross event).

Some of you might know that there are many types of racing in Davenport. A few of them are autocross and drag racing. These are the most common ones that you hear about. I participate in these two kinds of racing and it is the best part of my summer.

Drag racing is a more known form of racing than autocross. Drag racing is normally a straight quarter mile track where you race against one other car. Autocross is a race against multiple cars. One car goes on track at a time and you maneuver yourself around the cones set up on the course. It is a timed race so after your few attempts at the course you get put on a list in the place you’re in before the next set of races.

Both forms of racing take some kind of skill. Drag racing is more based on the modifications done to a person’s car which includes things like what kind of motor you have in it, any type of racing upgrades you’ve made, and how much horsepower and torque a car is pushing.  It also has a lot to do with their reaction time. Having a fast car gives you a big advantage in the drag world. If you have a slow car, be prepared to lose most of the time. Getting off the line at the same time as the light is one of the best things you can do as a drag racer. Having a fast reaction makes a huge difference.

Autocross is a little more driver-oriented than drag racing. The driver has to be very familiar with their car before hopping on the track. They need to know how much the car leans when they take a corner, how “sticky” or how much traction they have on their back and front tires. This means how much the tires will stick to the ground keeping you from sliding out. They also need to know how to correct themselves if the back end of the car starts to slide out on them. Knowing the course is also a big deal. Knowing how fast you can go into a turn without taking out all the cones is probably one of the biggest advantages a person could have in autocross.

As a lifetime racer, my experience with both forms of racing is pretty good. Being around all the other racers is a good time, as well, because you all have something in common to talk about. The racers at the drag strip don’t really do much talking; they sort of stick to themselves. But the racers at autocross all talk to one another and everyone knows everyone.

As a teen autocross racer, I’m pretty well known for being so young and being able to put up a fight with guys 20-30 years older than me. I get a lot of looks when I’m the only female driver at racing events. It is pretty intimidating going out being the youngest and only female driver. When people figure out who you are you get a lot of watchers. That’s okay, though, because I like the attention.

I most definitely put up with a bunch of “razing” at school from the other boys that like cars. I know how to ignore it until they start talking about my driving ability. They must not like the fact that a girl can beat them at their own game.

Racing has made me more skilled behind the wheel. I am a very competitive person and at first I hated autocross because it was so hard for me to compete with anyone. But as the months went on, and the more I participated in the sport, the more I started moving up the list. At this point in the year I finish higher up on the list than I have before. More people find me threatening now than they did before.

Racing is my idea of fun and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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