Behind The Wheel - #27 - Dani Hebner

Subaru’s and drag racing are not two words you hear in the same sentence very often, but Dani Hebner is challenging herself in drag racing with an STI that she has enjoyed building herself. Dani lives in Florida and spends her free time away from the track with her mini dachshund and boyfriend, Tony. She has been working in dealerships for the last 10 years and starting next week, she will be jumping into a new position in the automotive industry in which to learn about, you will just have to follow along her journey.

Dani has always had a passion for cars, “I always liked cars. One day I was changing my oil and had to recycle my old oil at AutoZone. I saw a hiring sign and decided to apply and got a job there alongside my waitressing job. At the time I was a college student in the healthcare field, and I thought having 2 part-time jobs would be beneficial to me. I eventually waited on the service manager for Mercedes-Benz and got a job there”. Dani went on to tell me about how she was questioning if she wanted to be in the healthcare industry at that time. Eventually she decided that path wasn't the one she wanted to take and dove headfirst into the automotive industry.

Her introduction into the world of drag racing was through her boyfriend Tony, who she says has been drag racing for over 10 years. They decided instead of running the streets, the risk outweighed the reward, and it was time to take her Subaru down the drag strip. But don’t think that drag racing is all she’s interested in, there’s more behind the scenes. “My plan is for the car to stay street-able and is geared towards road racing. But for now, I have so much money wrapped up in it, I decided to drag race it too. I also have a Honda Grom and learned recently that I can take it on the go kart track, so I would like to experience that too” she told me. Aside from that, she has a Lexus GS300 that she dailies and hopes to eventually turbo it and turn it into a sleeper, and she has an LS engine sitting in her garage she hopes to find a chassis to drop it into, to drift in.

The women’s class at Streetcar Takeover Atlanta wasn’t something she originally intended to run, she told me. At the time, she didn’t know about the class and signed up her STi to run in the 12.0 class. The Wednesday prior to the event, while testing with her new tires, she broke an axle and couldn’t source another in time. Her boyfriend Tony told her she could pilot his full bolt-on, E85, 2009 GT-R. She went to change classes, as the GT-R would not fit in the 12.0 class and told me, “they told me I could talk to Sophie and that I should fit into the rules, so I did. Once I learned about it, I knew that even if my car had not had broken, I would’ve also run in the Women & Wheels class”. She was able to go a round and got knocked out second as she couldn’t get into the beams and on the 2-step.

What you will see her out in this year, is her 2013 Subaru STI that her and her boyfriend built together in their garage. After replacing the axle, she was struck with the common ringland issue, and at that point decided to build her motor, as she told me, “I always knew it was an issue I would come across eventually. I told everyone that if and when it happened, I was going to build the motor at that point”. With that being said, this winter she upgraded the shortblock, put a Garret 3076R turbocharger on it, 1700cc injectors, and a Radium dual fuel pump set-up. The car made 478whp on the dyno, and she hopes to upgrade the heads and intake next to see more power.

Her favorite memory from the Atlanta event was, “Just racing. It was a really cool experience, and it had a community vibe. Everyone got together to help me race. Having Women & Wheels there just helped me feel so much more supported, and it was fun lining up with other girls. It’s competition, but it’s still friendly”, she said.

To end our conversation, I asked her what she thinks Women & Wheels is doing for women in the automotive space. “I think Women & Wheels has created a community where women feel comfortable to try something outside of the traditional female realm. There's a place for everyone in the motorsports industry and I’m excited to be a part of it and do what I can. I’m still new to it, I don’t always know what I’m doing, but I will help you through the first steps, or find someone and ask. If you want to do it, just get out there and take the wheel”, Dani told me.

Dani shows that you aren’t bound to one type of motorsports activity and that your passion can come in all realms of racing.
You can find Dani on Instagram @ dani_reckless