Young lady dominates boys on the track

Young lady dominates boys on the track
November 09
05:00 2017

Race car driving has been a male-dominated sport since its inception.  With young ladies like Cassidy Keitt on the rise, the all boys club may soon have some competition as leader of the pack.  Keitt is a champion Outlaw Kart racer and is a force to be reckoned with on the track.

Cassidy Keitt is an 8-year-old who got into racing following a conversation with her uncle, who is an avid race car driving fan.  He proposed the idea of her racing and after some time, she took him up on his idea.

She began racing in June 2016 and immediately took a liking to the sport.  Along with having a passion for the sport, she was a natural from the first time she sat in the car.  With this being her first year racing full time, she was crowned the 2017 Beginner Box Stock Champion at the Mill Bridge Speedway in Salisbury.

“I really like racing and the best part for me is winning,” said Keitt said.  “I think my uncle, my dad and my grandpa hear a lot of complaints from the boys’ dads sometimes because I win a lot.  I would like to do this as a career and I would really like to race in NASCAR one day.”

She says she hopes to inspire other young ladies to try racing because she feels girls can do just as well as the boys when it comes to sports.  Cassidy Keitt also excelled playing tee ball, but says she loves racing more and would love to see how far she can go in the sport.

Ryan Sparks, Cassidy’s uncle, is an engineer and does a lot of work on the cart she drives.  He says the entire family is competitive and many have a racing background in some way, so it was in her blood to take to the sport.

“She didn’t do as well as we hoped on her first race, but two or three weeks later, a light switch came on for her,” he said.  “I’ve been around all different kinds of racing and it’s really you either get it or you don’t and she seems to get it for sure.”

Justin Keitt and Hannah Sparks, Cassidy’s parents, say they initially had their reservations about her racing because they were aware of the dangers the sport can present but with both of them being race fans they were all for her giving it a try.

“Initially there was excitement because I love racing and what better sport to have your daughter involved with than racing,” said Justin Keitt.  “I was a little hesitant because it is racing and I have seen big crashes before but nonetheless I was anxious for her to get on the track and get things going.”

Hannah Sparks added, “I was completely hesitant and not completely for it and I love racing too, but that is my little girl.  But her first race I was shaking the entire time and it’s very nerve racking but I am very proud of her and I am glad we decided to let her do it.”

Her parents say once they saw she could handle herself on the track and began winning consistently, that alleviated some of their worries.  They said when she did have a wreck where she flipped multiple times, it was a reality check about the dangers but are confident in the equipment keeping her safe.

Cassidy’s grandfather, Bobby Sparks, a former racer himself, says he is excited for her to take up the sport because racing has been in their family for generations.  He says her great-grandfather, who is almost 90 years old, comes to every one of her races.

“It’s really just amazing because it brings the whole family together,” he said.  “She just keeps learning and absorbs everything you tell her.  She took to it very quickly and once she got it, she got it good.”

Cassidy dominated her division this season, finishing in the top three of almost all of her races.  She even had a seven-race winning streak during the year.  She will move up to a higher division next season and will race against kids as old as 13. 

When asked was she nervous to move up in competition, she gave the simple answer of “No, not really.”  Bobby Sparks says she always tells them that if they do their job and get the car where it needs to be, she will do her job as the driver.

Along with being a standout on the track, Cassidy is a top-notch student with her favorite subject being math.  She is also very involved with her church and assists her family with volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and Project Hope.  Fifteen years from now, Cassidy Keitt could be a household name for racing fans.

Cassidy and family say they could not have done all of this without their sponsors: Royal Properties of the Carolinas, Broken Buggy Print Co., Brown’s Handyman service, Pit Stops for Hope, Mock South Pole Tire and Automotive, Black Sand Co. and Daatsright Deliveries.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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