Driver of the #22 SODA Quad and UTV
Come out this Friday and/or Saturday to see another member of the Bennett racing family take on the high banks!
How did you get into racing?
From my dad actually! I started at the age of 7.5 for drag racing; I drag raced Junior Dragster until I was 18, then took a few years off. I got back into it when I was 17/18, and that’s when I fell in love with Quad racing. I got into the XC Quad Racing and doing Cross Country. Then I did ATV Motocross and I just enjoyed doing that and jumping my Quads and I was like, “This is it, this is what I want to do.” My parents weren’t quite that happy about it, there were like, “ We liked it better when you were in a roll cage”. I understand to a point what they meant, but I guess everybody gets their own high from something. Some people go out and drink and smoke; I get my high from jumping over 50 feet in the air with the ATV. Two years ago I got into UTV racing, and ever since I’ve been hooked on it.
What’s it like growing up in a racing family?
Oh dear God. From the beginning of spring and all summer long we are crazy busy. It’s ridiculous because everyone is like, “Hey do you wanna hang out? Do you want to do this?” and I’m like no, my brother and my dad race on Thursday nights and my races are on the weekends…and so on. We push off things to do around the house – every day things – because racing takes up all of our time.
What is SODA?
SODA is the short-course, off-road racing series. It dates back to the 70s or 80s, but I know for a few years they didn’t do it. SODA is a good way for a racer that is on a low budget to actually be able to do what they love.
What type of vehicle do you run?
I run the pro stock UTV class and I will be running the Quad class at Slinger.
UTV is a Yamaha YXZ 1000R and my Quad is a Yamaha YFZ 450.
I like to learn about my machine before I just go out and race it. I don’t want to just jump into a machine and go race it. The best way to learn about your machine is to actually take it apart yourself. I taught myself everything I know by doing just that – taking it apart and putting it all back together. My first year of UTV racing, somebody hit me as I was midair over a jump and I tumbled down the entire backstretch. That totaled my brand new UTV. That was my second ever race, so I was really bummed about it. But, instead of seeing it as a setback, I saw it as a comeback. I didn’t know anything about my machine, so I went out and took it down to the bare frame and rebuilt it back up on my own. That’s one thing that I’m really proud of for my racing.
Why should people come to see this event?
It’s going to be pretty awesome! It’s such a short course so there’s going to be a lot of contact, and you are going to have to work for your position. They are going to base it off of an old-style supercross track and I think that’s really awesome, making it a supercross track but for cars and bigger vehicles.
What do you like about Slinger Super Speedway?
I was raised there! I remember meeting some of the big NASCAR drivers there with my dad, basically attached to his hip. When I was younger, we’d always come and play down the bleacher hills – that was a BIG thing! We’d grab cardboard beer cases and my friends and I would slide down the hills. Then my mom would come get us when my dad would start racing and we’d go watch. Of course, that was a big deal for my family. In 2010, my dad won the Slinger Nationals and that was a big deal for us. It’s a year that I know he won’t forget, and I won’t forget because of being able to see how happy he was and what a big accomplishment that is, competing against some of the bigger names in NASCAR and beating them. My dad is very humble; I admire him and try to learn from him and learn from my mistakes. No matter what you are always going to make enemies in racing, but one thing my dad has taught me is that you are there to race and you are there to have fun so don’t let the other people get to you. My dad is so humble and is so quick to be helpful to other people; it’s amazing. I truly look up to him for that and I hope that people can see that in me.
Who do you need to thank?
Crew: David Kohn, my parents–Sue and Lowell; My Amazing Sponsors: Yamaha, Boss Optical Solutions, SSID Decals, Precision Powder Coating, Big Sky Pet Transport, AMSOIL, Racing for Autism (because three years ago I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is high-functioning Autism, so I try to associate that with my racing), Power Sports 1, Meton Transportation, TM Manufacturing, Bennett’s Auto (my parents’ business), Visionary Metals (my uncles’ business – they have helped me with fixing up my machine and welding things together because they definitely take a beating when you have over 40 UTV’s on a short-course track); Anyone else: Raymond Frieri – he is going to let me drive his Late Model this summer, My beloved uncle, Aaron Bennett, up in Heaven for always watching over me – he passed away last summer and has been my guardian angel ever since. He’d always push me and support me no matter what for my racing. He was always proud of me; he’d always brag about me to others. He was so proud of me and he meant the world to me, so I have to thank him. Also, Willie Freshour for his hard work and determination in putting together a series for low budget racers that can be just as fun as the big national series
What is your real job?
I actually just got a new job at Hexgo Motorsports in Oshkosh. I’m the Parts Associate, so I help people find and order the parts they need for their machines and make sure they are the right fit/right year for the make and model.
Do you have any pre-race traditions/superstitions/foods/etc
I always say a prayer to my beloved guardian angels: my friend Kyler, who passed away in 2017, my uncle Aaron, and my grandma (my mom’s mom). I have a green ribbon in my UTV and a green ribbon tied on my Quad and every time I grab those and say a prayer, asking for God to be with me, watch over me, and for my guardian angels to be there. I hope they are proud of me.
How did you get your racing number (#22)?
My birthday is September 22nd. My dad’s race number is 2; since I’m his daughter I thought I’d be 22, then if I ever have kids then can be #222. I’ve always loved the number 22. [Follow-up question: You went against the Bennett family tradition of going in order, was that a tough decision?] Nope. I’m stubborn like that. Twenty-two is my race number; that’s how it is and how it’s going to be.