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Race car driver shares career insights with NCHS seniors

When they envision their future careers, many students might see themselves working in office buildings, gathering around conference rooms, or commuting around a busy city. Many of them do not, however, envision themselves behind the wheel of a 300 mile-per-hour jet car. This thrilling career path is being taken by drag racer Sarah Edwards, who spoke to a group of NCHS seniors on Wednesday, June 7, as part of their career exploration program.

Sarah Edwards_crowd Inspired to become a race car driver after her parents took her to see the “Queen of Diamonds dragster” when she was 12-years-old, Edwards now races that very same jet dragster 13 years later and has launched her own career as a professional drag racer.

A Stamford, CT, native, Edwards decided to pursue drag racing after high school, when she attended Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School and earned her National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) license. Starting out, Edwards knew that drag racing was her calling despite the heavy male dominance she faced early on.

“I was in a class with all men who were much older than I was and had gotten the class as a gift from their wives,” said the 25-year-old driver. “For me, I knew I was destined to do this. I needed to get my license and needed to drive a race car.” After getting her license, Edwards and her family purchased their first jet car and formed “Queen Bee Racing”.

“In the beginning, I thought I was just naming the car,” Edwards said. “But I realized that I wanted to make a little bit of a business out what I was doing. We painted the car, made t-shirts, and really branded ourselves as a professional team even, though it wasn’t considered professional racing.” After a few years of bracket racing in the Queen Bee, Edwards received an offer from Hannah Motorsports to drive the professional jet car that had inspired her many years before.

“In only two visits, I signed a contract to drive the Queen of Diamonds jet car,” said Edwards. “They had no clue that, growing up, sarah edwards -2 this was the car that started it all for me. My dream had come full circle.” In the Queen of Diamonds 29-foot-long jet car, Edwards can reach speeds of up to 310-miles-per-hour with the kerosene-fueled jet engine. Putting on a show for her fans with billowing smoke and a fiery trail, Edwards notes that the best part of her job isn’t just winning the races.

“At the end of the day, when you come home from a race, and you see messages from parents on Facebook telling you that you inspired their children; that is really the best part of the job.”

Hoping to continue her career with Hanna Motorsports in the future and build her business, Edwards has launched her status in the drag racing world and notes the overall accepting attitude that the sport exudes.

“It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are, what gender you are, or even what age you are, drag racing accepts everyone,” said Edwards. “I found another family in drag racing; a group of people who are so accepting and extremely helpful. When I started out, I knew nothing about the sport, and the only way we were able to learn was through all the people who showed up at the track every weekend with us and offered to lend a hand.”

Reflecting on her success thus far, Edwards encouraged high school seniors to persevere and maintain a good reputation in order to reach their goals. “Drag racing is something that I was passionate about and worked really hard for,” said Edwards. “And I believe that creating my own brand and promoting myself through a very clean and positive social media presence got me where I am today.”
 
Story by Holly Santero, NCHS Senior