Minter Races Through Illness at Knoxville 360 Nationals KNOXVILLE, IA (August 3) -- Kathryne Minter had been waiting her whole life to race at Knoxville Raceway and, when she got the chance, she was speechless. She wasn't overwhelmed; she...
Minter Races Through Illness at Knoxville 360 Nationals
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 3) -- Kathryne Minter had been waiting her whole life to race at Knoxville Raceway and, when she got the chance, she was speechless. She wasn't overwhelmed; she couldn't speak because her vocal cords were strained.
"Kathryne is unable to say a word," her father and car owner, Mike Minter, said Thursday. "It's the biggest event of her career, and she can't talk. She started feeling bad Tuesday, and she hasn't gotten any better."
The 16-year-old racer from Bedford, TX, didn't let her vocal inability stop her though. The leader in the American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Rookie of the Year race let her driving do the talking Thursday, on opening night of the 17th Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals.
Minter circled Knoxville's legendary half-mile oval in 17.083 seconds -- an average speed of 105.368 MPH -- .857 seconds off fast-qualifier Jon Corbin's pace-setting lap. She beat Corbin across the finish line on her way to a ninth-place finish in the First Heat Race. Her sixth-place run in the "C" Feature gave her the fourth row outside starting position in Saturday's "E" Feature.
"I drew a 50 for timing in, so I was basically right in the middle," Kathryne reported via e-mail. "I got to watch a lot of people run their time trials before I went out, which really helped. My car was really fast in hot laps. I was really excited about running my time trial, but also really nervous because I had never run one before. In my time trial, the car was a little loose coming off the corner which made it a little hard to keep straight.
"In the heat race, we missed the setup a little and the car was even looser from the middle to the exit of the corner."
Minter is looking forward to Saturday's feature racing program at the Knoxville 360 Nationals and Sunday's Brodix Tournament of Champions.
"Hopefully, we can move up into the next main," Kathryne wrote. "I hope to make the feature, but they're only taking two or three out of each main so it will be a challenge. I'm also really excited about Sunday's race. Since I should get lots of time on the track Saturday, I'll have more confidence driving on the track and should be faster."
Kathryne and Mike toured the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum before Thursday's racing program.
"It was so amazing," Kathryne said. "I hope that someday my picture is on the same wall as the other women drivers who have their pictures in there. It was really cool to see how much sprint car racing has changed, and to see how much some people really care about it. It was a real eye-opening experience for me. We also went up into one of the suites and got a bird's-eye view of the track so I could see how big it really was. That was when I really got pumped about racing at Knoxville!"