"Honestly, just being on the podium once would have made me happy. But the fact that out of seven races, I've been on the podium four times, it just gives me this great sense of accomplishment," Stephanie told K&N Race News. "Not only for me and my driving, but for my family who has put blood, sweat, and tears into this car. It gives me so much more confidence knowing that I can race with, and even beat, the vets."
Stephanie was all smiles after her third place finish and second podium back in July at Perris Auto Speedway.
The 19-year-old Moreno Valley, California teenager began racing American Factory Stock cars in 2010, less than a year ago. She immediately lit up on the competition's radar and delighted fans at her home track, Perris Auto Speedway, earning the nickname "Super-Steffie." In her last visit to Perris, Stephanie inked her second win and her fourth podium for the season. She finished her heat race in second place, which positioned her in front for the start of feature race, and she took full advantage of that by jumping out to the lead and then holding it for the entire 25-lap race. A highly competitive race that included five restarts following yellow or red flag stops.
"During the restarts, I wouldn't pay any attention to whoever was next to me. I knew what I had to do, what line I was going to take, and when that green flag dropped, it was go time," said Stephanie.
"Four different cars tried to pass her at both ends of the track, but they could only get next to her, and then she would pull away from them exiting the corner," said Marti, Stephanie's mom. "Once she was on the inside line, she held it, and wouldn't give it up. She kept her cool and her car 'Black Betty' (named after song by Ram Jam ) was taking her for an E-ticket ride. We finally had the car set up to her liking and it didn't fail her."
The K&N sponsored driver currently holds the number two spot in the points chase, a meager few points behind the leader. "This championship race is going to be just that - a race for the championship," adds Stephanie.
Dan, Stephanie's dad, plays a major role in keeping the Herbage Family Flying Circus Team rolling as car owner and chief mechanic. "In the first race of the year she was driving a car in which she'd only had two laps of racing," explained Dan. "Although she was placed in the back of the field, because we were unable to get the car to run for the heat race, she was on the pole position for the start of the main event, because they reversed the field. She was able hold the lead in that race for the full 25-laps as well."
"In her third race, where she earned her second podium, she led most of the race, but went a little wide in a turn, allowing the number 11 car to stick a fender under her and move her to the outside. He and another car took advantage of this and they got past her and she finished third. Her third podium, earned in her fourth race, was a second place finish. In that race she started on the outside of row one, and the winner got the inside line. She followed him closely, but was only able to finish right behind him. After her rookie year of finishing no higher than fourth place, the new car has now given her the confidence that she can put the car where she wants, and it will go there."
October 29th will be the last race of the 2011 season for Stephanie and she will definitely be on the track again next season, but whether she'll race Factory Stock, or move up to Street Stock, has yet to be decided.
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