Sarah McCune, Courtney Kirts, and Sondi Eden will join the boys this Friday, August 10, at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky to show their talents and race with the best in the business as the USAC WorldCom National Midget Car Series...
Sarah McCune, Courtney Kirts, and Sondi Eden will join the boys this Friday, August 10, at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky to show their talents and race with the best in the business as the USAC WorldCom National Midget Car Series debuts on the 1/4-mile oval, following a rainout of a scheduled May 11 event.
Twenty-three year-old Sarah McCune of Indianapolis, Ind., has already established a notable racing career in her ten-year stint. The veteran driver has gone from racing quarter midgets to winged sprints and is now a top competitor in the midget series, where she certainly gives the boys a run for their money. With numerous accomplishments under her belt it's difficult for Sarah to narrow down what she is most proud of, but of personal importance is "finishing in the top three at Winchester and Salem (Ind.) because they're such difficult tracks." Sarah also noted that, "it was important to me to win a dirt midget event at Pevely (Mo.) because I don't have as much experience on dirt."
Having already tested an Indy Racing League car, Sarah's appetite for the major leagues has been whetted and she looks forward to her future in motorsports.
Kirts, 16, of Crawfordsville, Ind., is looking forward to this Friday's race at Kentucky Speedway. "It makes me nervous to race with those guys, they're the best, but this is what I really want to do," said Kirts when asked about racing with the likes of J.J. Yeley, Jay Drake and Dave Darland. "I'm excited, but really nervous. I've really only raced the Speedrome, but they've said if I can get the Speedrome down, then I should do well at Kentucky."
Kirts began racing quarter midgets in 1995 when she was only eleven. Since moving on to the midget series, Courtney has been able to get advice from other young drivers like Bobby East and Billy Wease, who Courtney credits for being able to explain racing from a young person's perspective. Kirts has not forgotten, however, that wisdom does come from experience. Dave Michaels, who Kirts worked with in quarter midgets, is like her personal coach. "He talks to me and knows how to talk to a girl. It really helps because it's learning the little tricks that make you faster."
Sondi Eden, also a Crawfordsville, Ind. native is the 29-year-old daughter of former USAC competitor Ron Eden. Sondi has had an on-again-off-again racing career, which began at the age of 13, where she ran go-karts and occasionally ran her father's midget. After a lengthy hiatus from racing to accept a full ride basketball scholarship from Moorehead State University in Kentucky, Eden was back in full force in 1998 to collect six victories in the Kenyon Midget series. In 1999, Eden went on to success in the midget car series and was named NAMARS "Rookie of the Year."
Eden has gone from running the big tracks last year to running short tracks this year. "I like running bigger tracks like Salem and Chicago, but this year we're running smaller tracks to keep the costs down until we can get a sponsor." When asked about this weekend's event at Kentucky Speedway Eden said, "The facilities are really nice. The track will be good for us because we've done more short track stuff lately. I think we'll see a lot of cars there that are used to running on short tracks."
Eden is hoping to run some dirt-track events in the future, but says she needs to get educated first. She had hopes to run in New Zealand last winter to gain some dirt experience. Eden explained how "Jimmy Sills had kind of taken me under his wing and we went out to California to get educated on dirt and to get set up for New Zealand," but unforeseen circumstances delayed the plans. By gaining some sponsorship opportunities, Eden hopes to be able to run more events in the coming seasons.
Friday night's "Jani-King Short Track Triple Header," part of Kentucky Speedway's Belterra Casino Indy 300 activities, includes WorldCom Midget Car practice at 6 pm and qualifying at 7:15 pm. Following complete prelims, the Midget Cars compete in a 50-lap feature.