Behind The Wheel - #6 - Taylor Carey
Juggling school, work, and traveling across the country sounds hard, right? Not for Taylor Carey, she’s 19 and is currently attending Michigan State University for her undergrad to apply to vet school, working at a vet clinic, and still finding the time to travel to multiple Streetcar Takeover events and competing in the Women & Wheels all-female drag racing class. Taylor grew up on her grandparents dairy farm and she now attends and races at events like Streetcar Takeover with her family across the country. “One minute I’ll be driving a tractor and another minute I’ll be driving an 850-horspower car”, she told me.
Taylor got involved in drag racing through her dad who owns a performance shop, CT Performance, that they started 5-6 years ago. As a child, she found herself in the car with her dad at infamous events like Woodward Dream Cruise, and eventually told her dad she wanted to race. Her first race was at the Battle Creek ½ mile event where she recalls going 162mph. Taylor drives a 2011 CTS-V that her dad built for her, but she sometimes finds herself behind the wheel of a ZR1 as well. “I learned how to drive manual 3 weeks before racing the ZR1, my dad threw me in it and said ‘drive it down the road, you’ll figure it out’ but I like the CTS-V better for dig racing”, she told me. Before starting to attend the Streetcar Takeover events her dad started modifying the CTS-V, but Taylor has a new project coming soon that you should keep an eye out for!
Taylor told me about the night before Indianapolis Streetcar Takeover and how they were dealing with issues, “My boyfriend Lance is a big supporter of me. The night before Indy, we had to pull my motor and put another one in. He takes the time off work just to go to events with me”. Taylor also sees the support given to her from her mother and father, even when her mom can’t attend she’ll facetime her throughout the night just to check in on her and see how its going. She sees role models in the family that isn’t actually family. “The CT performance family are my role models. A lot of us are close family friends and we’re all trying to support each other. Vincent is who I look up to the most of the CT crew, he always helps me when I go up to do a burnout or anytime I have a hard situation. My dad is definitely one of my biggest role models though”, she told me.
Although Taylor had experience racing in the first ½ mile event she competed in, before Indy, she had never drag raced before. Due to rain delays and oil downs, there was no qualifying pass to be made for the women’s class and they had to guess her index. “We didn’t know what index to put on my car so we put 10.0, but now we have the car figured out and I do race in the 10.0 index class as well”, she told me. She reflected on what it was like drag racing for the first time, “I was freaking out about doing my burnout. I had done them plenty of times before, but I was worried I was gonna screw up and hit the wall or something. I felt like I had so many people watching me”! The 2011 CTS-V has a cam, heads, full exhaust, flex fuel system, upper and lower pulleys, and plenty of other upgrades. “I set a goal to either win the 10.0 class last race in Rockingham or break out into the 9’s”, and Taylor did just that, running a 9.989.
Taylor’s advice to anyone interested in becoming involved would be, “Just be confident in yourself. Even if you mess up, you have time to improve yourself and work on things you may not be as good at. Have confidence in knowing you can do it, if you’re nervous and think that you won’t do good then you won’t. When I go up, I tell myself it’s going to be a good run and as long as the car is still running in my opinion it is a good run”. Her next goals for herself are to hopefully see herself in her new car within the next season or so, become more consistent, win races, and to improve her reaction time. Taylor thinks Women & Wheels has brought things to her that other races haven’t, “I have definitely got more excited about coming to race! Don’t get me wrong the Streetcar Takeover event is awesome, but I’ve made new friends from this class, and I look forward to that. Younger kids are going to have more women racers to look up to as well”. Taylor is continuously getting faster, learning more, and showing others how fun it can be even when you have a lot on your plate.
To add to this article after initially writing it- this past weekend Taylor was able to take home the win from the Women & Wheels class at OKC!
You can find Taylor on IG @ct_vchick.