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Sixteen-year-old Las Vegan Kayli Barker made history in October when she became the first female champion of one of the three NASCAR classes at the Bullring racetrack at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With a fourth-place finish in the 30-lap NASCAR Super Stock feature on October 5, Barker emerged as the 2013 NASCAR Super Stock points champion.
Barker needed to place sixth or higher to win the championship. After losing the car’s nose in the qualifying heat, which resulted in a flapping hood that blocked visibility during the rest of the heat, Barker started the Super Stock feature race second to last. Painted “Bug Blue,” a paint mixed especially for Barker, car No. 34 plus 2 made it across the finish line in 4th place at about half of its former glory—missing its nose, sporting smashed door and generally being held together with about three rolls of Duct tape.
“The last race is always cut throat,” Barker says, “because you have six months to fix everything.” During Barker’s entire season racing Super Stocks, she only had one DNF. “It just shows how hard my team has worked to get me where I am,” she said. “We worked two hours in the garage every night, and it paid off.”
During the Super Late race day practice, Barker ran her fastest time ever. Unfortunately, though, she was sent into a wall in an accident at the very start of the Super Late feature, and her car was totaled. A new Super Late model will be built for her for next year.
An awards ceremony will take place for all of the championship winners Friday, November 22, at Sam’s Town Live.
Barker’s win is impressive for a driver of any age, but especially for someone whose friends have only been able to come watch her race when they can get a ride from their parents. A motivated young lady, Barker’s ultimate goal is to drive for ThorSport Racing with Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.
A racecar driver from the age of 8, Barker obtained her NASCAR license just after her 14th birthday. On August 18, 2012, she won the NASCAR Whelen All-American series feature race, setting a new NASCAR age record: 15 years, 24 days.
Barker is a second-generation driver; her dad was racing super stocks when she was still a toddler, and some of her earliest memories are helping him tighten bolts on his cars.
A junior at Mountain View Christian School in Las Vegas, Barker earns straight A’s and hasn’t missed a single day of class. She is also the spokesperson for Project 150, a program dedicated to offering supportive services to homeless high school students throughout Clark County. kaylibarkerracing.com