Samantha Kenny reached the fifth round in the Super Comp division at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season finale at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.
Samantha Kenny got her drag racing license as a birthday present from her father
Her dad and her brother were hoping she could add another Wally trophy to their collection. But she fell a little short.
Alan Kenny, Samantha’s dad, won the Super Comp national championship. Jason Kenny, her brother, won the Super Comp event in Las Vegas two weeks prior to the season finale in Pomona.
Of the three, Samantha Kenny was the only one to reach the final day of eliminations at Pomona. She had the whole family pulling for her on the final race of the season.
“It’s actually been my best season as well,” the 30-year-old Samantha Kenny said. “Went rounds a lot divisionally. Trying to help dad out and go rounds here was incredible. Seem to get in a rhythm when the pressure’s on, I seem to do better.”
She was put in a bit of a pressure situation at Pomona. Her dad was knocked out early and his nearest competitor in the Super Comp standings, Stephan Kondolay , was still alive. Samantha Kenny and Kondolay were supposed to meet in the fifth round of eliminations.
But Kondolay was knocked out in the fourth round, lifting some of the pressure off of Samantha and securing the championship for Alan Kenny.
Samantha Kenny drives the black dragster in the NHRA Super Comp class
“I always had a feeling he was going to win it no matter what," Samantha Kenny said. "It was nerve wracking and Stefan kept progressing rounds. I had my game face on and I was ready to face him if I had to.”
Samantha Kenny beat Shane Molinari in the fourth round at Pomona. She had a reaction time of 0.007 seconds and won the race with a time of 8.943 seconds. She lost to Matt Constant in the fifth round.
“It was a good finish, nothing to hang our head about,” Alan Kenny said. “Looking forward to next year already.”
Kondolay lost to Constant in the fourth round when he jumped the start 0.002 seconds too soon.
“Winning first round is the biggest thing for me,” Samantha Kenny said. “It’s always the most nerve wracking for everybody. I’ve been driving really good, making some decent decisions at the finish line, which has helped.”
Samantha Kenny started drag racing about nine years ago. She earned her drag racing license as a birthday present from her dad and brother, but she admits it took her a while to warm up to the idea of racing full time.
“I competed in figure skating for 13 years,” said Samantha Kenny, who grew up in Canada with her family and lives in Ohio. “It was a birthday gift to go get my drag racing license at Frank Hawley’s in Florida. I wasn’t really excited about going. They’re good at it and that’s what they do. I was just, like, oh well, whatever.”
After her second run at the driving school, Alan Kenny said his daughter took off her helmet and had the biggest smile on her face. He said, “We got another one.”
Family and friends make drag racing full time easier for Samantha Kenny
Racing with her dad and brother has another advantage. It keeps the family close.
“I guess it’s something I never thought I’d want to do, but we live in three different places, two different countries, we see each other probably more than some families see each other when they live in the same city,” Samantha Kenny said. “Every weekend we race together, we support each other. We’re up there fighting for each other. With dad in the championship this year, Jason and I got to help out, trying to take some contenders out made a team effort out of it. It’s been incredible.”
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