Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Tribute to Kara Hendrick 

At the 2016 Chili Bowl in Tulsa Oklahoma , Shannon McQueen and her McQueen Racing team will debut a white, pink, and blue #7 midget with the same look as the three-quarter midget that Kara Hendrick drove during her career. McQueen’s midget race car, known as ‘A Tribute to Kara Hendrick,’ will be campaigned throughout the 2016 season.

While Shannon is known as being the first female owner/driver to win a USAC (United States Auto Club) midget feature in 2012, as well as championships with USAC Western States (2012) and the BCRA (Bay Cities Racing Association) in 2011, she knows that Kara Hendrick created these opportunities for her and other women who aspired to be race car drivers.

Shannon attributes her ability to move up through the racing ranks to Hendrick, saying "Kara opened doors for female drivers like me. I never would have been the first female driver to win a USAC Western States Midget feature or championship because Kara would have already done it."

On October 5 1991, after earlier setting a new track record at El Cajon Speedway, Kara died of head injuries in a violent crash at just 22 years of age. Kara started racing ¼ midgets at age 9, won numerous ¼ midget races and a National Grand Championship. 

In 1989, Kara won her first ¾ midget feature race, and became only the third women to win a USAC feature. Kara went on to finish second in the 1989 USAC Western States three-quarter midget series point standings, at the time the highest finish ever for a female driver.

In 2003, USAC announced the creation of the Kara Hendrick Spirit Award, which is awarded to a female driver that demonstrates the same determination, talent, and character traits that Kara did during her racing career.  Winners of the Spirit Award have included Erin Crocker, Sondi Eden, Sarah McCune, Jessica Bean, and Stephanie Mockler.  Following her USAC Western States Midget Championship in 2012, Shannon was named the recipient of this prestigious award. 

For Shannon, this was a huge honor, as she looked up to Kara and her racing accomplishments and during the 2016 season, the 25th anniversary of Kara's loss, Shannon will  honor Kara and her legacy.  

photographs and information provided by McQueen Racing

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