BY: ALEXANDRIA BROWN
In a sport that is 99 percent men, 5’0” tall Erica Stormes has proven herself in the drag racing world.
She is small, but her car is powerful with a 238-inch wheel base, 615 cubic inch motor and 1100 horse power, traveling 1/8 of a mile in 4.5 seconds while going more than 150 mph.
Stormes began racing at the age of eight. Her father raced stock cars, which initially interested Stormes but she went a different route and began to race junior dragsters. She moved up to a full size dragster at the age of 16.
One of the biggest races Stormes competes in throughout the year is the Tenntuck in Bowling Green; the prize is between $5,000-$10,000.
Her greatest accomplishment thus far was winning the Junior Drag World Series age division championship in 2006.
“It was hard to become known as a creditable racer because I am a female,” Stormes said. “Being female makes people notice and remember me, but sometimes people don’t realize my abilities because they can’t get past the fact that I’m a girl.”
Stormes met a fellow racer, Josh Baker, seven years ago while competing at the same track. Due to their common interests and extracurricular activities, they instantly developed a connection.
Now, Stormes and Baker have been dating for five years and enjoy traveling to races together, but choose not to race against one another.
“The most unique thing about racing is that females compete against males in auto racing unlike most other sports,” Baker said. “There’s no reason a female can’t be as good as a male.”
Stormes often races at the Mt. Park Dragway in Clay City, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Stormes likes racing at Mt. Park Dragway because she feels like it’s her home track.
This dragway is open from September through November and holds more than 20 races per season.
Stormes has one sponsor, BA Styles Inc., but the rest of her budget comes from working and saving throughout the year. It costs around $12,000 a year to compete at Stormes’ level.
She travels to different states each weekend for four months out of the year. Each race costs around $400 for entry fee and fuel.
“When my friends go shopping or out to eat, I rarely go; I’d rather save my money for racing,” Stormes said. “Choosing to race at my level is a big sacrifice socially and financially.”