A couple of issues ago we featured three drivers on the cover ranging in age from 15 to 22. They are part of our mentoring series that will continue throughout 2014, showcasing a number of young racers from around the country and in all different disciplines of motorsport. The goal of the series is to examine better ways to get today’s youth involved in the sport of oval track racing. After all, the kids are the lifeblood of our sport…without them the rest of us will go the way of the dinosaurs.

The girl pictured among that trio of racers is Wisconsin racer Reagan May. A 20-year-old up and coming Super Late Model racer who ventured down to Florida for a weekend of racing and testing with the Circle Track crew at Showtime Speedway in Pinellas Park, Florida. May has been racing for just about a decade, starting in karts before jumping into a Super Late Model at 15.

In the lull in between our morning test session and the evening’s racing activities, I got talking with Reagan’s dad, Kip. I asked him how he got her started in racing. Interestingly, it was an attempt to keep Reagan’s older brother, Parker, off of dirt bikes that got her into car racing. In an effort to draw his kids’ attention away from the more dangerous sport of motocross Kip was hoping to inspire them by taking in a bowling alley “open house” that featured some of the alley-sponsored race cars. That’s where Reagan saw a go-kart and convinced Kip to get one. Obviously, one became two, then karts became cars, which eventually lead to Super Late Models.

“I’m spending my retirement,” says Kip.

What better way to do it, I thought to myself.

He went on to mention that when he got the first car, he knew little about the suspension or setup. His solution was to go to www.circletrack.com and read all of the past articles on suspension and setups. He even went as far as printing the articles out and taking them into their shop where they kept the cars. Working side by side with his kids and Circle Track’s tech articles, Kip May forged the future of his racing team. It must have worked, because Reagan has demonstrated that she knows what she’s doing behind the wheel and you can really only accomplish that when you have a good handling car.

I got the chance to watch Reagan race this same day and I must say I was impressed. On this night we were racing Pro-Trucks, which in this area of the country, is basically a Super Stock (metric chassis with a fabricated rear clip and a crate motor) sporting a midsized truck body. During the 25-lap race, she battled side by side for the lead with local racer Tyler Scofield for 11 laps (that’s her in the white truck). It was easily the best race of the evening. Scofield, driving his own truck, would go own for the win, while Reagan would end up third.

At just 20 Reagan is showing a lot of promise behind the wheel. But she also works on her own cars, knows how to weld, and is not afraid to get her hands dirty or break a nail or two. And that’s important as we bring kids into the world of short track racing. Being able to drive the car is only part of the equation, understanding how it functions, how to fix it, and how to give valuable feedback about its performance to your crew are all learned skills that create well-rounded racers. And when you’re a well rounded racer your skills will be in demand. Heck, when you can do it all and do it all well the sky is the limit in this industry.

Until next month, go fast and turn left.