The Natural - Stephanie Herbage - A Future Motorsport Force to Reckon With

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And this is the borrowed car she finished the year with.
And this is the borrowed car she finished the year with.
At first glance Stephanie Herbage looks just like any 18-year-old, full-time college student, holding down two part-time jobs, yet still managing to squeeze in quality time with chums. However, upon closer examination, this Moreno Valley, California teenager is infinitely nuanced, with more layers than a Bermuda onion.
This is the car Stephanie started the 2010 season in.
This is the car Stephanie started the 2010 season in.

Last year Stephanie started racing American Factory Stock cars after her father, Dan and brother Matt, bought a racecar and figured it would be fun to put a girl in the in the car to beat the boys. See, they already knew about her crazy, intuitive, skills for all things with motors and wheels, and yes, even wings.

Roughly seven years ago Dan and Matt started flying RC planes at Hemet model airfield. When Stephanie asked the instructor to teach her, he explained he didn't teach kids under 12, but as a consolation he offered to take her out on a short test flight. Only minutes later he returned, looked at Dan and said "Have her here every Saturday at 8:00 A.M. - she's a natural!"
When she's not racing Super-Steffie is the official Perris Auto Speedway pace car driver.
When she's not racing "Super-Steffie" is the official Perris Auto Speedway pace car driver.

Stephanie learned in four weeks, what usually takes two or more months for other new pilots. The entire family has since learned to fly as they enjoy the family time. And that's how the Herbage Family Flying Circus team name came to be.

On the track Stephanie immediately became a fan favorite at Perris Auto Speedway, earning the nickname "Super-Steffie." Even her fellow competitors can't help but like her, she's competent and earns respect. Last year she crashed her car in only the third outing. Stephanie climbed out of her crashed car and climbed right into the Perris Auto Speedway pace car, and paced the very next A-main the same night.

On Saturdays when she's not racing, she's behind the wheel of the Perris pace car, leading the Sprint Cars around the track for the main events, or at other local venues working promotional opportunities for the Speedway. She spends time with every single fan that greets her, sharing her experience, and inviting them to come out and race. Her goal is not merely to win a race and bring home a trophy, but to introduce young race fans to the track, and generate interest for future drivers. Stephanie is not just a natural behind the wheel it appears, but she's also an innate ambassador for the sport as well.

After the crash last year the new K&N sponsored racer finished the season in a borrowed car. "Luckily my boss and owner of Swedish Speed, Mark Yarbrough, offered to let her race his son's factory stock Nova that he raced the year before," said Dan her father. "This year she will be driving my 1980 Camaro that we built and fitted specifically for her. Her first race in the new car will be March 19, 2011. We are all looking forward to a new season with a new car." Yet despite the crash last year, and completing the season in an unfamiliar car, Stephanie still finished the season in sixth place overall at Perris Speedway.

Clearly genetics and environment contributed to Stephanie's gifts, and while the gene pool thing is rather hit or miss, the surroundings part of her can be easily traced. Stephanie grew up in a family that enjoys going to drag races and watching NASCAR religiously. Her real first-hand taste of speed though came at the age of five, when her uncle taught her to ride his dirt bike and less than three years later she was racing her older brother Matt around the track, and usually beating him.

Stephanie doesn't just drive her racecar either, she works with her dad and brother preparing and fixing it, and she's eagerly learning all she can about the basics of mechanics. On the track she's a fierce competitor, but when she's out of the car, she's a bright, friendly young woman with a glowing smile and sharp sense of humor adored by young fans.

Asked how far she wants to go with racing Stephanie simply says "All the way," then adds, "Possibly even to NASCAR."

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