At the age of twenty, a lot of people are still in the process of choosing the direction they want to go with their lives. Cassie Gannis, on the other hand, seems to have already cleared that hurdle and is on her way to making her mark in the world of racing.
Acquiring a passion for racing at a very young age, 20 year old Cassie Gannis has never looked back since driving her first quarter midget several years ago.
Cassie was introduced to the sport at a very young age. "My dad use to race Dwarf cars and IMCA's as a hobby," recalled Gannis. "When I saw him race, something just clicked for me. As a five year old, I was busy making a statement for Sun Devil Aquatics, but in my spare time, I was watching racing on TV."
The youngster was obviously bitten by the racing bug at an early age, and Cassie's passion never relented. In fact, although she continued to pursue the sport of swimming, Gannis was acutely aware that her true passion lurked within the world of racing.
"Although I was swimming competitively internationally over the next several years, all I wanted to do was race cars," recalled Cassie. "Seeing my interest in racing, my dad took me to South Mountain Park to watch the quarter midgets race. After months of reminding my dad that I wanted to race, he told me that if I read the rule books and learned all I could about the sport, he would see that I raced in a car. Determined to race, I learned all of the rules. My dad and I began with a used quarter midget; then we both put one together in the garage. As I began to win races, we bought a new car. I just knew that racing cars was my life passion."
Since kicking off her career in a quarter midget a number of years ago, Cassie Gannis has not looked back, and has seen her fair share of success. In fact, while previously racing her Whelen NASCAR Super Late Model at the Toyota Speedway, Gannis was offered an opportunity to drive for the GSR Racing team in the K&N West Pro Series there in 2011. That said, she gladly accepted the challenge. To date, the driver is embarking upon her first full season in the series and is making a run for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
"I received a wonderful reception from Joey Mancari and the officials," explained Gannis. "They really welcomed and encouraged me to come back. Then I went on to race in the series at Colorado National Speedway, and Spokane County Speedway."
Cassie Gannis is experiencing her first full season in the K&N West Pro Series.
When asked her thoughts on possibly earning the Rookie of the Year honors, Cassie said, "I think the key to acquiring Rookie of the Year is a combination of car performance, driver and team excellence. The award would be a true honor," she explained, "but my ultimate goal would be to experience an opportunity to grow as a competitive driver in the K&N West Series, and win a title for my sponsor."
Cassie Gannis understands that although her driving skills will prove essential, her car must remain in tip-top running condition if she plans to stand on the podium at the season's end. That in mind, she and her crew depend upon K&N products to ensure the internal components of their engine remain contaminant free. "Maintenance is essential," explained Gannis. "I have been using K&N products for six years. I use K&N air filters and fuel filters on my K&N West car. I use K&N air and oil filters on my Saturn Sky. I also use K&N air and oil filters on my classic baby, a 1973 black convertible GTO. They are quality, first-rate products," she continued. "They are the best filters out there."
Although winning championships is a goal that Cassie Gannis shares with her fellow drivers, she also has a huge conviction to give back to the community and the racing world. In fact, although pursuing higher education in veterinarian studies is time consuming, Cassie somehow manages to juggle her remaining hours in a manner that she can still have a social life, as well as meet her many other obligations. Gannis makes local TV and radio appearances focusing on all things NASCAR, teaches car safety classes and maintains her "No Texting and Driving" Program.
"Needless to say, I have a big calendar," shared Cassie. "My mom is instrumental in helping me keep all of my appearances straight. She enters everything into our computer calendar, which then sends me reminders. I also check my phone calendar every day. But I wouldn't have it any other way."
When asked if she considered herself as a role model for other drivers, Gannis replied, "Yes. There is a lot of attention on women drivers right now. Actions I make could reflect on other women trying to enter the sport. I am always sure to be professional, responsible and kind. I am currently working with Phoenix Girl Scouts on a project to encourage girls to think about professions usually occupied by men. Girls need to know that if they work hard and find their passion, they can do anything they put their minds to."
When asked what fans could expect from Cassie Gannis this season, she said, "They can expect more racing. They can expect me and my team to get better and better with each race. They will get more opportunities, meet and greets, to get to know me and my race car."
In closing, Cassie Gannis said, "I love everything about racing- preparing, arriving and spending the day at the track, practicing, qualifying and racing. There's nothing like the drop of the green flag."
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