Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Driver Spotlight: Annabeth Barnes

Annabeth Barnes

Annabeth is only 17 years old but has an impressive 10 years of racing under her belt. As a kart racer she has captured over 200 wins, multiple state championships, was the first girl to ever win junior driver championship, and was a two-time Grand National Champion. In 2011, she raced her rookie year at Hickory Motor Speedway in limited late model division, where she captured first win of stock car career, nine Top 5 finishes and finished 4th out of 30 drivers. We were able to see the girl behind the helmet in the 2009 award winning documentary Racing Dreams and the reality tv miniseries Born to Drive, which aired on GAC in the fall of 2011.

I had some questions for Annabeth and she was gracious enough to share her story and advice.

How soon in your racing career did racing become your passion?

I think, for me, I was in love with racing before I even started. My father was a local short track racer, and my mom has always loved racing, so I grew up in a racing home. I was going to the track as long as I can remember.  I was probably about 5 years old when all I would say is that I was going to be the first women to win the Daytona 500. Being that young, of course, I couldn't have even begun to understand all the dedication and work that would come along with pursuing that dream. And looking back on it now it's crazy how my life has worked out up to this point. It really seems like this is what I am meant to be doing. I wasn't truly, 100% dedicated to racing until I was about 8 or 9. But for whatever reason, even being that young, I knew that this was my true love and something that I wanted to do everyday for the rest of my life. I feel like everyone has a purpose in life, everyone has a calling. Racing is mine.

You started racing at 6 (my oldest daughter started this year when she was 6 and my youngest will start next year when she turns 5), What advice would you give young girls about racing and what they will face as they progress in their racing careers?

My advice to a young girl entering this sport is very simple and overused, but it would be to never give up and never lose your faith. As a female in this mostly male sport, people are going to doubt you, look down on you, and not give you their respect. You have to work everyday to show the world that you belong in this amazing sport. And it's not always easy and it's not always fun, but anything worth having isn't going to be easy to get. Things get tough, but you cannot cannot cannot give up. Always believe in yourself.

What is your favorite accomplishment in your racing career?

Wow, that's a tough one. I think that my very favorite accomplishment in my career has been my first stock car win at Hickory Motor Speedway last year (2011). My whole life I had always been the best, in gokarts and even moving into some of the bigger stuff. But when I moved into my rookie season in a full size stock car, I wasn't the best anymore. But I learned more about hard work and dedication then I have ever learned, so to finally get that first win after a hard season was just amazing. I felt on top of the world, if even just for that moment. It also finally showed everyone that not only can I be a good gokart driver, or bando driver, but I am a good racecar driver. I finally got the respect that I had been searching for. And in my eyes, that was an accomplishment all on its own.

Thank you Annabeth for taking the time to share your advice and story with us. We look forward to watch you acheive your goal of winning the Daytona 500!! You can keep up with Annabeth by following her on facebook at or by visiting her website at

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