Ashley Halsey, an 18-year-old Sylvan Lake resident and stock car racer, will compete in six more competitions for the track championship at the Edmonton International Raceway this season.
Halsey will race in her car, a Camaro equipped with a GMC 602 crate engine, against eight other people.
She has won Rookie of the Year twice for Western Canada NASCAR in the last three years, and said she hopes to place in the top four, as that is her usual.
When Halsey races, she competes in two sets of 10-lap heat races, including a 30-lap feature race.
Halsey said that racing may look like just driving at a high speed, but being a stock car racer takes patience and athletic ability. She said she hits an approximate average speed of 100 km/h.
“I have to be really patient because there is a lot of spinning and a lot of wrecks,” she said. “If I stay out of it then I am fine, and then I end up moving up places.”
Halsey said that racing in her car works her whole body as she is constantly switching pedals and trying to remain sitting in a proper position.
“It really does work the majority of my body,” Halsey said. “I am quite tense in the car because I am turning a lot which uses most of my muscle groups. Holding myself straight in the car works my spine and my core, so I am getting a pretty good work out in a 10-lap race.”
In addition to her athletic ability being tested, Halsey said she loves the adrenalin rush that racing gives her, and said the rush is different each time because the sport is so unpredictable.
“If somebody almost hits you, your adrenalin will spike, as opposed to if you’re just in the lead and you’re trying to keep your lead,” she said. “There will always be adrenalin because you’re really focused, but you also have to focus on what is going on around you.”
Halsey said she has to maintain her athletic ability, which includes seeing her trainer two or three times a week and then exercising in her own time.
She said she has to have good cardiovascular strength because while racing she gets hot in the car.
“You have to get your endurance up and your cardiovascular strength up,” Halsey said. “I personally had to get a lot of leg strength just from switching pedals and all that kind of stuff. It’s a full body work out that you have to maintain.”