Champion Racer Natalie Phelps On KGAB Mornings
It’s rare these days to have a teen take time to talk to someone they don’t know, which makes me proud that I had the privilege of one visiting the studio whose hobby is not organic farming, painting, video gaming or bungee jumping, but one that requires an engine and a pair of wheels.
Natalie Phelps,15, was our very special guest who loves to race cars. That’s right–cars. She is the Season Champion, Rookie of the Year, and Perfect Attendance winner for 2013 in the Junkyard Warrior Class at Cheyenne’s Big Country Raceway.
She began her racing career at the age of 14. Following in her dad’s footsteps, who has been racing all of his life, she acquired a 2001 Ford Escort that helped her obtain championship status last year. The Junkyard Warrior Category is a race for beginners, once they go to the junkyard and purchase a car. Everything on the car in this class must be stock with no modifications.
In preparation for the big race last year, she practiced in what they call “hot lapping,” in the racing world. This means that she does dry runs around the track as a warm-up exercise before actually entering the competition. She said she had butterflies the whole night (she’s used that adrenaline to become a class champion, obviously).
There are three heats that start at 6 p.m. on race nights. They do a Trophy Dash, heat race and then the main event. According to Phleps, the competition has been stacked up more so this year than last year. In her racing category, some of the competitors purchased different cars than what they had last year, which could make racing a bit more challenging this season.
If you want to watch Natalie race, the place to be is Cheyenne’s Big Country Speedway on Saturday nights, located at 4820 S. Greeley Hwy.