FF: Female driver eyes full-time effort for 2003

Samantha Weakley, 22, of Indianapolis, Ind. is the first female driver to commit full-time to drive in the USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series. A two-time National Go-Kart Champion and veteran of Kenyon Midget Cars and Dirt Modifieds, Samantha will...

Samantha Weakley, 22, of Indianapolis, Ind. is the first female driver to commit full-time to drive in the USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series. A two-time National Go-Kart Champion and veteran of Kenyon Midget Cars and Dirt Modifieds, Samantha will campaign a car entered by 3-K Racing, Inc. in the Indiana series which debuts April 6 at the Anderson (Ind.) Speedway.

The USAC Ford Focus Series features sealed spec Ford Zetec engines with limited external modifications powering a USAC Midget Car. The 178-hp Ford Zetec engine, supplied by SCREAM of Harbor City, Calif., is an affordable, reliable and drivable powerplant designed to bring more owners and drivers to USAC Midget Car racing. The long block used in Ford Focus Midget racing is identical to the engine found in Ford Focus ZX3 street cars. During the2003 racing season, USAC will conduct nearly 50 Ford Focus events in California, Indiana and Ohio.

Weakley began racing when she was 12, driving go-karts at Daytona, Charlotte, Road America and Mid-Ohio while pursuing two national championships. During the 2001 season she competed in dirt modifieds in the St. Louis area. "Racing on dirt was radically different from doing 120 mph on the high banks of Daytona," she commented. "It taught me to respect the differences between tracks and cars."

Weakley piloted a Kenyon midget in 2002. "It was a fantastic opportunity to be in the pits with and on track driving for Don (Kenyon) and getting advice from midget legend Mel Kenyon," she said. When USAC announced the 2003 USAC Indiana Ford Focus Midget Series, "we came to the conclusion that the inauguration of the USAC Ford Focus Series in Indiana was perfect for me. The series is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to progress into a USAC series with a car, an engine and competition that is perfectly fitted to my experience," she added.

Eric Bunn, USAC National Coordinator, Ford Focus Series, said: "Samantha's goal is to race in the Indy 500 and she sees the USAC Ford Focus Series as a solid foundation to begin her professional open wheel racing career." Bunn continued: "Having drivers, who like Samantha, have a plan for their careers join the USAC Ford Focus Midget Series confirms that these cars will be a successful step for the next generation of drivers on their way to all of the national racing series."

The USAC California Ford Focus Midget Series presented by the Southern California Ford Dealers opens its 2003 season at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway March 15. The USAC Indiana Ford Focus Midget Series makes its debut at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway on Sunday, April 6, in conjunction with the USAC National Sprint Cars and Midget Cars.

--USAC--

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