Daytona: Alli Owens preview

Alli Owens: Driver of the No. 19 Toyota Fast Facts: * and Alli Owens will be making their 2009 ARCA debut with D'Hondt Motorsports during the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at the Daytona International...

Alli Owens: Driver of the No. 19 Toyota

Fast Facts:

* and Alli Owens will be making their 2009 ARCA debut with D'Hondt Motorsports during the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at the Daytona International Speedway.

* and Owens have competed in one prior ARCA event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Owens drove a DGM Racing-prepared car in last season's ARCA 200 event. She started 29th and finished 41st following a clutch failure.

* Owens' team owner, Eddie D'Hondt, will serve as her spotter throughout this season. D'Hondt also spots for Sprint Cup driver Bobby Labonte.

* Owens' best laps recorded during Daytona testing were 49.849 seconds (non-draft) and 49.529 seconds (draft-aided).

* On Sunday, February 8, Owens will represent proudly by receiving the prestigious Woman in Racing Award from the Victory Lane Racing Association. The award honors women who have made significant contributions to the sport. Past winners include Linda Vaughn and Louise Smith.

Alli Owens Comments on the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at

Daytona International Speedway:

"Wow, it's really another big change for me this season. A new team is always a big deal, but I know I've got the support of again and that's a big deal for me. You hear about so many teams struggling that I feel pretty blessed to have this opportunity. There is probably no better time to have the support of my sponsor either. I think a lot of people can visit the website and learn about the opportunities available, even in times like this. So, it feels good to get to Daytona.

"Daytona (International Speedway) has always been a special track to me. I grew up in Daytona Beach, so I see friends, family members, former teachers, old racing rivals and a bunch of the hometown natives that come out to support me. It really brings everyone I know back together. Knowing that they're cheering for me is a huge encouragement. It always makes me look forward to racing there.

"Whenever I race, it's not just a matter of wanting to do good. I want to go out there and win, and set the bar high for females and minorities. I hope to inspire them and encourage them to continue chasing their dreams and show them that anything is possible.

"This off-season I've been through a lot of changes, physically, mentally and emotionally. I've been hitting the gym a lot harder than normal. I try to work out at least six days a week and get physically prepared for everything they're going to throw my way. I have a car that's capable of winning and a crew capable of getting me into victory lane, so I need to make sure I do my part to be at my best. I've done a lot of mental preparation, learning everything I can. My team has lots of experience and is a wealth of information. They've taught me a lot already. It's all given me a lot of confidence as we're going into Daytona. It feels like a new era for me. I'm more ready than ever and can't wait to take the green flag.

"I've nicknamed the Daytona car 'Eleanor.' That's what Nicholas Cage calls the Shelby Mustang in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds. It was the greatest car in the world to him. The car made him nervous when he thought about the journey ahead, but he was so attracted to it at the same time. That's kind of how I feel about Daytona with my new team and car. This is what I've always wanted and it's right here in front of me. Now I've just got to take it. I'm a little nervous about it, but I'm so excited to get in there and get the job done.

"I've thought a lot about what strategy I'll use during the race – whether I should hang back to avoid the 'big one' or try to race up front for the duration. I know the race is getting closer, because I stay awake thinking about it, trying to live it before it happens. I know we have a car that is capable of running up front. I think we can qualify and run with the lead pack and I'll run up front as long as I can. If I do get shuffled to the back it's no big deal. It won't be a panic situation because I know we have the team and the car to race back to the leaders. You never know when the 'big one' could happen. I've been involved in a 'big one' at Talladega (Superspeedway). It seems like the cars running in the middle and the back always pile into the wreck and I don't want to be part of that. I'm going to do my best to always race towards the front and hopefully stay out of any trouble.

"When I get into the car with Eddie (D'Hondt, spotter and team owner) on the radio, it makes me feel like I can do whatever he says. He's taught me such much about the draft. When I'm racing, I imagine the car ahead of me attached to my bumper with a piece of string, trying to pull me through traffic. It helps me realize the position I need to be in to sync up with the cars going to the front. Eddie tells me what to do on the radio and I do my best to make it happen. Hopefully he'll help me clear a path to the front and we'll keep the Toyota there until the checkered flag."

-credit: aoPR

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Alli Owens