Interview with Christine Knight ... NASA American Iron only Female Christine Knight is American Iron's only female racer. In an aggressive field of amateur and pro racers, Christine manages to bring her style of intensity to the series.
Interview with Christine Knight ... NASA American Iron only Female
Christine Knight is American Iron's only female racer. In an aggressive field of amateur and pro racers, Christine manages to bring her style of intensity to the series. Christine was out most of 2005, but we caught up with her testing at Willow Springs International Raceway as she prepared her car for 2006 and the season's opening race at California Speedway March 10-12.
Q. In the competitive NASA American Iron series, how do you feel being the only female driver in the national series?
A. Proud! Every now and then I "realize" I'm the only woman racer in our series, but for the most part I feel like just another racer. NASA has some fast lady racers in other series, and it would be neat if they were driving in American Iron. I'm always glad, however, to be with NASA and not in "the other sanctioning body" that has things like a ladies class in autocrossing. I don't understand the reasoning behind that. When I'm racing with the American Iron West group, it's drivers and cars only. Not gender. And I believe I've been accepted into the group as a driver. Throughout the years I have felt twinges of non-acceptance sometimes, but that may only be because I drive a Chevy Camaro in a field of Mustangs. Thank goodness for Nick Steel and Mike Patterson, and all the "older" Camaro guys, that I have to bond with.
Q. Similar to Danica Patrick in Indy IRL, and Carol Hollfelder of Speed World Challenge GT series, what is your opinion about women in racing and racing against men in the sport?
A. My opinion about women in racing is that we belong here. I do not think that gender is an issue. I firmly believe that a woman driver can be as good or better than any man. Of course in the higher professional ranks I've heard complaints that it's harder for women to secure sponsorship, but that doesn't apply to me, in my hobby. I haven't had anyone on the track do anything blatantly aggressive toward me because I'm a woman. So again, I feel like just another racer.
Q. Tell us about your race team, and about how your husband supports your racing?
A. My team is as huge as I need or as small as can travel. I consider my team to be family and friends, and anyone that supports my efforts. The true core consists of my husband Jason and friend Joel Browning as Engineer. Both Feet In Motorsports (the "official" team) was created by a small group of friends from the Sports Car Club @ UCSB. We're all involved with racing in some form. At the track I've recently employed the knowledge and skills of friends Darin, Misha, and Leah, all of whom are mechanics and promising track drivers. I have teamed with Jerry Brown in the past for help setting up the car, and he was a great resource.
My husband Jason supports my racing in so many ways! After all of those long days at the track, he'll drive the "rig" home so I can rest. When I freak out about the competition, he calmly reminds me that this activity is fun for me, and that I CAN drive fast. When the Camaro has broken down for what seems like the ump-teenth time, he wrenches on it because he knows I'm going to push it off a cliff out of frustration. He accepts without question that #29 MUST run this year!
When we were married he only went with me to a track if there was a lure-going to Sears Point? Let's go wine tasting in Napa! Otherwise, "no thank you." As a true best friend would learn and accept, and grow with you, Jason has learned to understand my desire to go racing. Of course, he's had some fun along the way and will hopefully drive #29 in a rookie race or two this year!
Q. You took 2nd overall in the 2003 year, do you think a championship is reachable in 2006?
A. Nope, I'm not even trying for a championship. 2003 was such an incredible year for me but I was a free-lance writer, which meant I was basically unemployed with a lot of time on my hands. Now I've been working with Moss Motors for 2 years so I have much less time to devote to wrenching, towing, and racing as much as I did 3 years ago. Also, all that time away from home and family was tough for me, so I've decided to attempt more of a balance there. There's no way I can be in contention for the championship unless I vow to make every race every time, and that's not in my schedule this year. My personal goal however, is to beat Ryan Walton at least once. I like his Grassroots style that I think is similar to mine, and he's just an all around great racer. Watch out Ryan!
Q. The field mostly consists of Ford Mustangs, how do you feel the Chevy Camaro matches up in the AI series?
A. On paper, the 4th gen F-body should be better than the SN95 and leave the Fox bodies in the dust. I haven't done this platform justice in its build, and that plus my lack of experience racing have left my Camaro in the shadows. The LT1 engine is strong and could be a torque monster, to move the extra weight the 4th gens carry over the Ford competitors. There is also much less to choose from in the aftermarket sector-we don't have a Griggs or a Maximum Motorsports. And now that the F-body is out of production I think builders have lost any steam they may have had. Don't tell Mike Patterson that though, his LS1 Camaro and his driving make for quite a rocket.
Q. What is the rest of your life like outside of racing?
A. I love my job at Moss Motors where I'm the Marketing Assistant. I work with both Marketing and Advertising; which means at one moment I'm writing ad copy, while conferring about how to shoot a product, or doing the basic formatting for our graphic designers, or putting our new products up on our web pages, or working with our engineers to layout their instructions in print, or even being the "professional" driver for cover shots for our catalogs. Outside of Moss, I love to visit with my niece Devon who is 16 months old, and my sister Rachel and brother-in-law Kevin. Jason and I like to work on our house in Santa Barbara, he loves to garden and do woodwork, and I paint and plan the next upgrade. We have a black Lab, "Tyson" and two cats "Joey" and "Rex", and no plans for kids of our own. We love to host BBQs with our friends, and go wine tasting in the local Santa Ynez valley.