September 2007 Issue
A Need for Speed
Stephanie Beane is clearly in the driver's seat. And she's earned a place in the Guinness World Records to prove it: This year, the 11-year-old Elyria resident was awarded the distinction of being the youngest stock car racer ever. Since she made her debut three months ago at Sandusky Speedway, Beane and her four-cylinder Dodge Neon have clocked speeds of 95 miles per hour, finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the eight-lap heat race and 12-lap feature contest.
"It's very exciting, very amusing," she says matter-of-factly. "Actually, I learned how to drive a car before I learned how to ride a bike."
Beane's interest in racing began at age 4 when her father, Tim, built a Go Kart for her brother, Ryan. He wasn't interested. She was. By age 8, Beane was driving a bandolero, a car resembling a Corvette, which she entered in East Coast competitions.
"Parents often can't believe that I allow her to do this," Tim says. "It never phased me until we added a second seat to the stock car so I could bring her up to speed. It was scary when I sat in the car and looked over and saw this little girl who can barely see over the steering wheel taking us on turns at 90 miles per hour. Let me tell you, I was just fine with getting out of the car and watching from the side of the track. I have total confidence in her abilities."
Stephanie takes it all in stride. "Me scared? No way. My dad gave meconfidence and made me believe that I could do it," she says.
The Midview North Elementary School sixth-grader plans on a career with NASCAR. She hopes to one day meet her heroes, racers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"I want to race them and win," she says softly. "That would be awesome.