This archived article was written by: Kara Heaton
Danielle Tremelling, a student at College of Eastern Utah, loves to dance, hang out and have fun just like any other girl. But, there’s something about Tremelling that isn’t ordinary. She races cars and I got to interview her and find out why.
Q- Where are you from?
A- I am from Hooper, Utah. It is located just west of Roy, about 15 minutes south of Ogden.
Q- What area are you majoring in?
A- I am majoring in dance.
Q- What other interests, besides racing, do you have?
A-I love to dance, hike, boat, ice fish and pretty much anything else outdoors. Oh, I’m definitely interested in boys.
Q-What kind of racing do you do?
A- I drag race. That’s where you race in a straight line down a quarter mile track. There are two types of drag racing. One of them, called Heads Up, has two cars that are the same speed, they leave at the same time, and whoever gets to the finish line first, wins. Then there is Bracket Racing, which is also called Elapsed Time and Lap Time. In this kind of racing, each person has to dial in their car, meaning that they put a time in the window that they predict their car will run. Let me explain. Say you have one car that posts a 14.22 and another that posts a 15.43. The 15.43 car will get to leave just a little bit before the 14.22, so that they have a fair chance.
If they go faster than their posted time, they automatically lose. Another way to lose is if you leave the staging lanes out before the green light. If that happens, you are automatically disqualified.
Q- Do you race alone, or is it a family thing?
A- I race with my family: my mother, my brother and my dad.
Q- Why did you and your family start racing?
A- My dad used to race when he was a teenager and he used to work on top fuel dragsters. When my brother turned 16,he started racing on the streets so my parents made a deal that they would pay for him to race if he stayed off the streets. After that, we all just followed.
Q-How old were you when you started racing? How come?
A-I started racing when I was sixteen years old. They have junior dragster’s race, but other than that you have to have a driver’s license. Junior dragsters can get expensive too, so I just waited until I was sixteen.
Q- What race did you just win?
A- It was the race of champions. There were two champions, from each half of the season’s previous races. I was the second half champion. I won the Race of Champions, and then I had the Race of Champions of Champions, and I took second, out of about 150 people.
Q- Any other races this year?
A- I have a race in Las Vegas on October 11-14. It’s a NHRA, which is National Hot Rod Association Drag Nationals. It’s a national race. I’ll be in two classes; the high school class (street legal cars), even though I just graduated. I’m also in the sportsman (a mixture of street legal cars and illegal). The cars will range from 11.49 to 15.99.
Q- What has been your favorite race?
A-The first time I raced in the sportsman’s category. I was racing about forty other people who had been racing for years and who had spent thousands of dollars on their car, and I came in second. It was the best race ever!
Q- Why do you race?
A- I race because it gets my family and me together and it relieves a lot of stress. It gets my mind off everything, and it’s freaking exciting. It’s a ton of fun.
Q-Are there more girls that race then people would generally think?
A-I’m the only girl in my class, but there’s another family whose mom races, my mom races, and then there’s another girl who’s in her twenties. But that’s about it. There used to be more girls, but they must have gotten sick of it or something.
Q- How often do you practice?
A- Towards the beginning of the year, I have a test and tune ever other Wednesday during the beginning of the season, and then during the year, ever race you go to, they give you two practice runs before eliminations.
Q- What is your favorite thing about drag racing?
A- Sitting at the starting line when my heart starts to pound and my palms start to sweat and I don’t have a care in the world other that watching the lights on the Christmas tree drop (that’s the thing that turns green)
Q-What is the most discouraging or frustrating thing about drag racing?
A-When you reach the end of the racetrack on a close race and your win light doesn’t come on. Car problems are also frustrating. Like when you’re at the racetrack and your car breaks and you try to fix it so you can still race that night.
Q- Have you met a lot of fun people who you consider your friends?
A-There are quite a few people that I talk to outside the racetrack but most of them are older than me so we just hang out at the racetrack. If someone leaves early, though, I always call him or her to tell him or her how I did and vise versa.
Q- What kind of car do you have?
A- ’89 Ford Mustang GT
Q- Is that the only car you race?
A-Yeah. Then everyone in my family has a different car. My dad has a ’87 Mustang with a 351 Cleveland. My brother has a’91 Mustang 5.0. Liter and mom has a ’68 California Special Ford Mustang with a 351 Windsor.
Q- Do you have to know how a lot of about cars, like fixing them, etc., to drag race?
A-No, but if you don’t, you need to make sure you have someone with you who does. I myself know the stuff I need to know to fix my car if I’m alone.