For 17-year-old Kaitlin West of Bismarck, racing is more than just a hobby. It’s a way of bonding with family.
“My older brother Nick races along with me,” said West, ” and I kind of followed in his footsteps and started racing after him too. We used to come to the races even before my brother raced, and so watching him get into it and everything really got me interested.”
This is Kaitlin’s second year racing in the Sport Compact division, and she remembers her first race like it was yesterday.
“I really had no preparing,” West said. “I don’t know if there is anything you can do to prepare. But once I got going, I’m not going to lie, I got lapped a few times. It was pretty scary to watch all those fast cars go around you, but it was a lot of fun and I really got hooked then.”
Kaitlin says it was hard learning a manual transmission that first year, but actually one of the hardest things about racing to her isn’t about the car at all.
“Probably the way the track is, to be honest,” West said. “It’s a lot different than you’d expect it to be. It’s very slippery and very muddy, and you have to learn how to get your tires right, and how to drift it and how to run it.”
So in short, racing isn’t a walk in the park. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s definitely a learning curve,” West said. “I’m not going to lie, I’m not out here to win, I’m out here to have fun. I definitely do every week, and it’s something I really enjoy.”
West will compete on Aug. 18 at Dacotah Speedway in the Sport Compact series