Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Rhonda Trammell is determined to achieve her ultimate goal-to race her way into the Toyota Atlantic Series. Like many of the drivers in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, Trammell got her start racing go-karts when her ...
Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Rhonda Trammell is determined to achieve her ultimate goal-to race her way into the Toyota Atlantic Series. Like many of the drivers in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, Trammell got her start racing go-karts when her boyfriend, who raced go-karts, let her take a spin in the kart-literally.
"It was raining, and they sent me out there on slicks. I had never been in a kart, so I had no idea. I came back in after a few laps and thought that I would never do that again."
But she did end up getting back into the driver seat of a kart and began to not only get fast, but also began to have a deep love of the competition and of the sport.
"I had been out running in the kart, and after I came back in, everyone was telling my boyfriend how well he had been driving, but what they didn't know was that it was me in the car and I was using his helmet. I went from those karts all the way to the lay-down twin-engine enduro karts. We ran 160 mph on the back stretch of Daytona, and that was fun."
Trammell was so dedicated to her new passion that she worked in a go-kart shop for two years to learn about karts and to immerse herself in the industry, picking up tips at every step.
"I did everything but build the engines on my kart. It got to the point that my boyfriend knew not to touch my kart. It was a great way for me to learn about setting up my car to be fast wherever we go with the Barber Dodge cars."
Trammell amassed experience and victories in karting, racing in several categories of karts on her way to becoming a 250cc Super Kart Champion and WKA World Enduro Champion. Trammell got her first taste of driving a race car when she had an opportunity to test a Dayton Indy Lights car.
"I was kind of in over my head going right from a kart into that car, but the test went well. That was when I started racing with Skip Barber to get more experience in race cars. I came in second in my very first Skip Barber race, but it took me half a season to get my first win. I was so aggressive early and it took some time to learn the patience required to win races."
Trammell first raced in the Barber Pro Series in the early 90's, and managed to out-qualify a young Juan Montoya at Mid-Ohio in one of her first weekends with the series. Trammell is nonplussed about the fact that she is one of only a hand full of female racers, and hopes that drivers like her and series rookie Danica Patrick can continue to break down the image of the female racer.
"I think that there more women racing there are, the better. I am not racing because I want to be known as a fast female, I am racing because I want to win, period. I just happen to be a woman doing it. Competition amongst woman is no different than competition amongst guys-we still have to perform on the track, and we still have to find funding the same way everyone else does."
The Pittsboro, Indiana, resident had another opportunity to test an Indy Lights car with Brian Stewart Racing and her Skip Barber experience paid off, as Trammell was immediately within tenths of the teams regular driver. A lack of proper funding kept her out of the seat, though, and Trammell is determined to get a strong Atlantics program together for 2003.
"I have always been very competitive in whatever I was running in, and I have that same mentality about getting into Atlantics. It's my main focus right now. I am working on meeting with the teams to see what kind of opportunities are out there, and trying to finalize plans for some testing later in the season. I don't give up that easy once I have made up my mind on something,"