Let’s face it. No matter how hard you try to keep clean and tidy while you’re working in the garage, you’re still gonna get dirty and sweaty. That’s why the Carhartt Force Performance T-Shirt is the perfect thing to wear while you work. Detroit based drag racer and bad-ass mechanic, Molly Straight, will swear by it.
Tips for beginner drag racers from driver Molly Straight:
1. Keep your head in the game. Don’t let the intimidation of the other drivers get to you. Drag racing has a lot to do with your attitude and mentality.
2. You have to learn to lose to win, especially in bracket racing.
3. When talking about a future event, never say “if I win.” Instead say, “when I win.” It keeps the mental confidence going.
When Molly was around 11 years old, she witnessed her first drag race. What else it like it? The roaring engines and flood of adrenaline are intoxicating, especially for a dauntless young girl who wanted to push the boundaries of adventure. To Molly there was nothing in the world more awesome than the race.
At 13, her brother bought her a street car. Molly poured her heart and soul into it for 5 years. She anxiously awaited the day she’d get her license, like most teenagers do. Perhaps her reasons were different. She wasn’t pining to drive herself to the mall. She longed to show her stuff on the track.
Molly is now a seasoned driver, living to compete and feel the rush that comes every time you let a rip off the line. There are times when guys underestimate her, but she always finds a way to prove she’s more than capable.
Her advice to other young women who also live for the race is to “do it! Just go for it, don’t even hold back. And don’t quit, because quitting lasts forever. If you want it bad enough, you’ll get it. It just takes time, everything good takes time.”
Remember Adrienne from a few posts back?
We wanted to share a bit more of her story.
Q: What is your first memory of your fascination with automobiles?
A: Both my parents work in automotive industry. There was always car stuff and art work around the house that my mother or father had done. My dad always had cool cars. I was always so excited when he brought home cars when I was growing up. I remember being three or four years old and he came home with this 4th generation Corvette manual with a stick. I would help him wash it and work on it. One day, I was sitting in the drivers seat of the car and I pulled on the gear shift and it started rolling. My Dad yelled at me as he jumped in the car and pulled on the hand brake. That’s when I first fell in love with cars. That was the beginning of my obsession of cars.
Q: What car did you learn to drive on and what was the first car you owned?
I first learned to drive my mom’s minivan when I was 10 years old and she let me back it out of the garage. When my dad said I could officially start learning to drive, it was music to my ears. My dad had a 50th anniversary Corvette and that was the first car he took me out in. That was a pretty cool car to first learn how to drive. We would go to the parking lot at a school by my house. I was pretty picky when it came to picking out my first car, which was a 1999 Camaro SS.
Q: Why did you start working in a body shop?
A: I started working in the shop with another women who was building a funky transformer car. We were the only two women in the shop and when that gig ended I asked the owners if I could stay on and apprentice with the guys in the shop. They said yes!
Q: Why are so many women in drag racing? Why are you building a drag racing car?
A: The sport of drag racing is more receptive to women than other forms of car racing. They look at you as a racer first, a man or woman second. I spent a lot of time drag racing in college. That’s what my friends and I were doing. So naturally that’s why I wanted to build my own car. And my racing friends are all guys. I only have one girlfriend. I don’t hang out with girls too much.
Q: Can you describe what makes this car so special?
A: What I like about the first generation Monte Carlo is that it’s a muscle car but it’s got an underdog quality. It’s an unconventional hotrod. My plan for it is comes partly from inspiration from drag cars and partly from the inspiration of mid-century stock cars. I’m building a completely custom dashboard with gauges.
Q: Tell us about your day job?
A: I work in promotion in the motorsports industry. I travel around the country to all kinds of car racing events including NASCAR, American Lemans Series (ALMS), dirt track, and Indy Car races. I manage mobile event tours and also relationships with race teams and tracks. I love it! I get to spend my weekends at a racetrack. I’m in heaven. The hardest part about my job is not being in a car or a pit crew. I want to work on cars and drive them, but that’s not my job. But I get to be an advocate for the sport, which is rewarding.
Q: Do you think you’ll make the switch to the other side of the track, ie. to driving?
A: My parents didn’t put me in a go cart when I was four, so I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not going to race cars for a living. My passion is still around my work, so I’m grateful.
Q: How is it to be a woman in the field of auto sports? How do the guys treat you?
A: In my day job, I don’t volunteer information about my own mechanical skills and knowledge of cars. I just don’t boast about it. But people who know cars can pick it up. It’s not like it used to be. Racing is still male dominated, but there are lots of women who work in motorsports, and people don’t seem to judge whether you’re male or female. You just have to do a good job exceptionally well.
Outside of work, to be honest, my favorite part of driving my cars would be when I would pull up at cruise night and step out with my designer clothes, and no one expected a women to walk out of that car, never mind own it. They always thought it must be my boyfriend’s car. I don’t have a boyfriend. Generally guys thinks it’s cool that I work on cars, but they are also intimated by it. I’m an intense person. My dad says I have to put a radius on it, my intense personality that is.
Q: What does the future look like for you?
A: To stop procrastinating and go to graduate school and get my MBA.