Like father, like daughter: Father-daughter team shares a passion for drag racingModified: Friday, Jul 15th, 2011
“I saw the Nitro cars for the first time, and fell in love and have been in love with it ever since,” Woodward, a member of the Uinta County Motor Sports Association, told the Herald.
Despite his love of racing, he never got behind the wheel himself until the Hypoxia Speedway opened nearly five years ago outside Evanston. He now regularly races a 2,000-horsepower, alcohol-burning dragster at Hypoxia Dragway.
But perhaps more importantly, Woodward now shares his passion for racing — on the track — with his 9-year-old daughter Payton.
Payton began racing earlier this year, at the controls of a 13-foot junior dragster. The girl’s junior dragster is built to scale with a custom, high-performance 512 cc single cylinder ethanol-burning engine. Woodward said he decided to get his daughter her own dragster after she expressed an interest in the sport.
“She can do high seven-second runs at mid-80s,” Brian said. “By way of context, most muscle cars on this 1/8-mile track cannot do 85 mph. Most of them run nine seconds, even 10 seconds at about 75 to 78 mph. So, if we were to put her up against one of the newer Camaros or Corvettes, or something like that, it’s likely she would beat them.”
In addition to racing, Payton does a lot of her own maintenance work on her dragster.
“It’s her job to prep the car between rounds,” Brian noted. “She does mechanic work between races, and it’s all a very professional thing when we get out there.”
“It’s actually pretty fun,” Payton chimed in. “It’s real fast.”
Payton said she sometimes gets nervous when she prepares to make a run in her junior dragster, but the feeling goes away when the engine starts.
Due to her young age, and the engine’s high speed, Brian said the safety of his daughter comes first whenever she runs her junior dragster. Every precaution is taken to ensure Payton’s safety, and the young driver stays in contact with her father via the telecommunication system built into her helmet.
“Safety is paramount, because she is going very fast,” Brian said. “She is 9 years old, and she’s going faster than most muscle cars out here.”
He noted races are held the third Saturday of every month, events that have become the Woodward family’s regular outings.
“This is our family thing that we come out and do,” he said. “Once a month we come out to the racetrack, we bring out all of our cars. We put on all of our equipment, and do this. We all support each other.”