At age 10, Kate Dallenbach knew that one day she wanted to drive for Richard Childress. Now, eight years later, that day has arrived.
Dallenbach, the 18-year-old daughter of former NASCAR and Trans-Am drivers Wally Dallenbach Jr. and Robin McCall Dallenbach, is competing this year under the Richard Childress Racing banner, with Team Dillon Racing building and maintaining the cars.
The RCR development driver’s 2015 schedule calls for her to compete in 10 dirt races for RCR/TDR at Boyd’s (Ga.) Speedway and 20 late model asphalt events for Lee Faulk Racing. Dallenbach said the asphalt races would include events at Hickory; Anderson, S.C.; Myrtle Beach; and Greenville, S.C.
“I was in one of the motor homes in the infield at Daytona and Richard Childress was in there,” the Mooresville resident recalled about her initial meeting with Childress. “We were talking about me racing quarter midgets. I remember he told me, ‘Well, when you’re ready, give me a call.’ That always stuck with me and I always knew that one day I wanted to race for Richard Childress. So it’s like a dream come true for me.”
A third generation driver, the young Dallenbach began racing quarter midgets at age 8 and was the 2007 Texas regional champion in two different divisions.
The granddaughter of former Indy Car driver Wally Dallenbach Sr., she competed in Bandoleros at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008 and was part of the Lyn St. James Driver Academy in 2010. The following year, Dallenbach earned championship and rookie honors in the Allison Legacy Series at Thunderhill (Texas) Raceway.
She tested dirt late models for RCR/TDR in 2013 and drove Whelen Late Models at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, where she captured rookie honors and finished second in points. Last year, she ran 10 dirt races at Boyd’s Speedway and 15 asphalt events throughout the Southeast.
Childress said after Dallenbach tested and attended a driving school with Dale McDowell, he was told, “This kid has got it.”
“We watched her. We put her in a few races,” Childress said. “Just like any young driver you’re going to have one or two bad races, but then she closed out with some good ones. Dirt isn’t the easiest thing, but it’s the best way to learn.”
Dallenbach said she could tell racing on dirt helped her performance on asphalt tracks.
“Whenever I would go race on the dirt I would come back and I would be even better on the asphalt,” says Dallenbach, who is entering her sophomore season in dirt track racing. “I had more car control and I would be more aggressive.”
Even though Dallenbach’s entire family has raced, including her older brothers Jake and Wyatt, she never felt pressured to move into the driver’s seat.
“They don’t expect me to follow in their footsteps,” she said about her parents. “They’ve always wanted to make sure this is what I wanted to do. They’ve always told me, ‘We’re not making you do this. If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to.’ But they’ve respected and supported me that this ... is the route that I want to take. They’ve always been there for me.”
Dallenbach was 14 when she decided to pursue a racing career.
“That’s when we moved from Texas, where I had spent most of my life, to Florida so I could race at New Smyrna and pursue my racing career,” she said. “Myself and my family had to sacrifice a lot to do that and that’s when I realized this isn’t just a hobby anymore; this is what I want to do for a career.”
Despite Dallenbach’s family history in the sport, she doesn’t believe it brings added pressure.
“Yeah, my parents, especially my dad, have been in this for a while, but I think instead of adding pressure it benefits me,” she said. “They’ve been there. They have the experience. They not only support me, but I can go to them. They give me great advice and they can help me a lot more.”
A senior at Davidson Day School, Dallenbach has been accepted at several colleges, but has elected to take off a year after graduation to focus on her racing.
She hopes to test a truck this year and views a move to NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series as her next step.
She eventually plans to study veterinary medicine with a focus in the agriculture industry. When the family lived in Texas she was a member of the Future Farmers of America and raised show pigs.
Cindric takes 8th at Daytona
Mooresville’s Austin Cindric, co-driving with Jade Buford, finished eighth at Daytona in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge BMW Performance 200. Competing in the GS Class, the two drove a Ford Mustang Boss 302R.
Flores finishes 2nd in Gamblers Classic
Davidson’s Ryan Flores had to settle for second in the Gamblers Classic after a tough three-way battle with eventual winner Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., and Jimmy Blewett of Howell, N.J.
The 40-lap TQ Midget feature gave Rudolph the Len Sammons Motorsports Productions TQ Midget championship. He and Flores, who was winless in the series, were tied with 320 points. Rudolph’s victory served as the tiebreaker.
The event was held in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
Sprint Cars join Hickory PASS event
The Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series will join the Pro All Stars Series at Hickory Motor Speedway’s Easter Bunny 150. The April 3-4 event will be the second PASS national championship series race of the 2015 season.
It will be the Must See Racing Sprint Cars’ first visit to the historic Hickory track. The Southern Showdown will pit the top Southern and Northern winged pavement sprint cars against one another.
In addition to practice on April 3, there will be twin 25-lap qualifying races for the sprint cars and feature events for the PASS Pro Late Models and Legends cars. The Easter Bunny 150 for the PASS Super Late Models will be on April 4 in addition to the 40-lap Southern Showdown for the sprint cars, and features for the USAC HPD Eastern midgets and Legends.
Racer’s Swap Meet
The Unifour Area Racer’s Swap Meet is scheduled for Feb. 28. It will be at the Caldwell County Fairgrounds in Lenoir from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Setup will be Feb. 27 from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. or the day of the event from 6:30 a.m.-9 a.m. Admission is $5.
East Lincoln undergoes improvements
East Lincoln Speedway officials are preparing for the 2015 season by banking the track and adding fresh clay to the facility. The irrigation system also is scheduled to be completed by opening day, which is March 28.
The car show is set for March 14 with open practice scheduled for March 21.
Pits are $15 and grandstands are free for the practice, which will be from 12-6 p.m. Each car will have at least two practice sessions on the track. Parts, tires and fuel will be available for the practice.