Thirteen-year-old girl wins second regional kart racing championship
Article and photos submitted by Steve Apodaca
Alexis Apodaca, 13-year-old resident of Buffalo Ridge Estates, won her second Championship of her young career, this time at The Track at Centennial. In one of the most competitive classes in the region, Alexis won the nine race series among some of the best drivers in the region – some nationally ranked.
While this is her second series championship in three years, Alexis is most proud of winning this series because it was at her home track. “Winning here has always been a challenge because we have such a competitive class with some nationally ranked drivers. I have always wanted to win the local regional series since this is the track where I started.”
Competing in a male dominated sport brings on its own challenges. “The boys try to intimidate you with aggressive moves, but I believe that girls are just as strong as boys. Now that I have gained enough experience to know when to push back, I can fight for the lead. I have become the intimidator when necessary.”
Alexis’ race season started in January when she competed in the Challenge of the Americas representing drivers from the United States, Mexico and Canada. She gained invaluable experience racing against some of the best drivers in North America.
After running races in Tucson and Phoenix, she set her sights on the regional Rocky Mountain Championship. She also raced in the second leg of the US Open to further develop her race craft. With fields of 20 kart racers, the races have an Indy car feel. High speeds, skillful passing, and an element of danger are all part of these young aspiring racers.
“My goal is to race in the Indy 500 someday and be the first girl to win it, but I know I need to work my way up the ladder,” said Alexis.
In October, Alexis moved up in class to challenge the next level of competition. In her first unofficial race at the next level, she drove away with a win. Running at 70 mph on a 19-turn, mile-long track with a best time of 54 seconds, it is hard to imagine the skills necessary to run that fast. Her father said, “They are pulling over two Gs in a turn while requiring lightning quick reflexes to keep control of the kart. These are skills seen with pro-series drivers in the best of fields.”
Alexis keeps her eye on the big picture knowing that these wins are only the first steps in achieving a ride at the pro level. She has set her sights on driving Indy cars in the professional IRL ranks of IndyCar. “I believe I can do it,” says Alexis. “And I will!”