Taws seventh at Canadian Grand Prix. Toronto, Ontario, (June 09, 2002): Ashley Taws, the eighteen-year-old driver of the "Be Anything With Barbie at Wal-Mart" car finished seventh yesterday in the second round of the Canadian Formula Ford ...
Taws seventh at Canadian Grand Prix.
Toronto, Ontario, (June 09, 2002): Ashley Taws, the eighteen-year-old driver of the "Be Anything With Barbie at Wal-Mart" car finished seventh yesterday in the second round of the Canadian Formula Ford Championship at the Canadian Grand Prix. The Newmarket, Ontario, resident showed great determination and heart as she battled back from deep in the field after twice sliding off a wet track.
Thirty-four cars started the race, held at Le Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Taws, with a sixth-place starting position, was hopeful of a top-three finish. Rain moved in prior to the 4:15 pm start, but Taws, a skid school instructor and ice racer for two seasons, was not the least bit phased by the prospect of a slippery track.
When the green lights flashed on, Taws got away to an excellent start, gaining one spot as the entire field wound its way safely through the first few corners. She fell in line with a train of cars spanning second through eighth places, but on the second lap, at corner eight, her car slithered off the track and into the gravel. With only limited experience in wet conditions, Taws had braked on her normal line, with the left wheels on a white line painted at the edge of the track. The tires slid on slick paint and her car simply would not turn. The crowd let out a collective sigh as the scene played out on the giant-screens around the track, but Taws kept the car moving and guided it back on to the pavement. Unfortunately, not realizing the painted line was the culprit, she found herself in the same predicament a few laps later.
"I've never heard that you have to stay off the paint when it's raining," said Taws. "I didn't know what was going on, so I just kept braking earlier, but the wheels still kept locking up. The team tried to tell me what I was doing wrong, but the radio wasn't working properly. At least I know for next time."
Taws became a clear crowd favourite during the days leading up to Saturday's race. Fans were constantly asking for autographs and wanted to have their photos taken with the petite young driver and her pink "Be Anything With Barbie at Wal-Mart" race car.
"This event was pretty hectic, but I had a great time," Taws said. "The fans really had fun with the whole Barbie thing. Everywhere I went, people kept shouting 'Go Barbie' and they'd crowd around to see the car. It was really neat! I can't wait for next year."
Taws, who became the first woman to stand on the podium at a Canadian Formula Ford Championship race three weeks ago at Mosport, will race in round three of the Canadian Formula Ford Championship at St. Eustache, Quebec, June 29-30.
Be sure to visit Ashley's website, www.ashleytaws.com.