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A lotta guys try to catch her but she leads them on a wild goose chase now
May 2, 2009 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Start your engines. Megan Culbert, age 8, was in her first year of racing.... her best time so far was an 11.30 in the 1/8 mile. Vroom.
posted by caddis (40 comments total)

 
Drag racing at eight years old? Where were my parents? I feel so deprived.
posted by caddis at 9:37 PM on May 2, 2009


Trust me, growing up around race tracks isn't NEARLY as cool as you think it is.
posted by strixus at 9:40 PM on May 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, kid's drag racing. Who knew? And Fun Fun Fun? Always been my favorite Beach Boys tune, hands down. But, that Mike Love... he looked like a middle-aged man right from the get-go, didn't he? But that penchant of his for little gestures, and his general cheesy-Vegas-lounge-singer demeanor has always meant I'd rather just hear him sing with the BBs and not see him!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:44 PM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trust me, growing up around race tracks isn't NEARLY as cool as you think it is.

Too true. It's much more impressive and glamorous from the outside.

Mind you, there have been kids racing from 5 or so for decades in karting and the like and going around corners at 20-30mph is more dangerous and arguably/demonstrably harder than driving in a straight line at 75mph. Drag Racing starting doing it only in 1991 is not all that ground breaking by comparison. Maybe its the inner cynic in me that read that and went "So what?", but kids being involved in some pretty hairy motor racing styles has been around for many, many years. But then, being as that's all I've ever known, then maybe its news to normal people...

However, can I call foul on the shot of the nominally pretty 16 year old getting a shot twice as big in the piece as all the other girls? It rather smacks of "and THIS one is almost old enough so I can call her hot!!". I see no other reason for it being the only image that, at the expense of image quality, even, is that much bigger. Hopefully my inner cynic is crying out again.
posted by Brockles at 9:47 PM on May 2, 2009


However, can I call foul on the shot of the nominally pretty 16 year old getting a shot twice as big in the piece as all the other girls?

That's a bit of a stretch, I think.
posted by ryanrs at 9:54 PM on May 2, 2009


That's a bit of a stretch, I think.

You mean they stretched the photo? Indeed, that would explain it being bigger than the others.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:02 PM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


the OMG GIRLS DOING MAN STUFF vibe in that article really wierds me out. Sure, I don't understand drag racing, or car racing in general. But to see girls doing boy stuff doesn't seem to be as surprising to me as it is to the article's author.

I remember when the girl's high school hockey league was started in MN, and people were similarly surprised. A decade and a bit later, there are some women in MN who also play a mean game of hockey.
posted by localhuman at 10:04 PM on May 2, 2009


Youtube of the Beach Boys? Yawn.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=junior+drag+racing&aq=f
posted by intermod at 10:06 PM on May 2, 2009


But, that Mike Love... he looked like a middle-aged man right from the get-go, didn't he?

I bet he was buying beer for the boys starting at age 12.
posted by caddis at 10:08 PM on May 2, 2009


.... her best time so far was an 11.30 in the 1/8 mile.

I misread that as 1/4 mile and thought, damn, that's a really bad idea.
posted by knave at 10:11 PM on May 2, 2009


Brockles: I see no other reason for it being the only image that, at the expense of image quality, even, is that much bigger. Hopefully my inner cynic is crying out again.

All the images are scaled to the same width. That one happens to be the only picture that has a 'portrait' orientation, so it ended up being larger when scaled. As to why the photographer held his camera vertically for that one shot, well, who knows.
posted by knave at 10:13 PM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Drag racing is for old men with gender issues. Not little girls.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:25 PM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the whole ZOMGWOMANRACER thing does nothing for me. Particularly because my mother started racing in an armature division in the early 70s, before most tracks had female restrooms in the infields. She also once clocked a security guard who wouldn't let her into the paddock of a track while dressed in full nomex and with her helmet, NEXT TO her car on a flatbed.

So yeah. This isn't new.

The age isn't either. A friend of mine grew up doing cart from about the time she was ... 12ish? So yeah. Not impressed.
posted by strixus at 11:36 PM on May 2, 2009


Add another one to my list of Worlds I Never Knew Existed.
posted by zardoz at 2:12 AM on May 3, 2009


Yeah, the age isn't all that new, or the sex of the driver- my husband won a kart championship when he was 8, and he can still name the girls that dusted him everytime they met up at the track (while three of the boys he beat for the title have gone on as adults to the Nextel Cup series). We've both often wondered why the girls don't seem to continue as they get older, when there seems to be so many fast girls on the track at younger ages.

But really the only reason I'm commenting is because that Beach Boys video made me want to smack Mike Love upside the head so he'd stop chewing his gum right into the mic.
posted by annathea at 3:15 AM on May 3, 2009


We've both often wondered why the girls don't seem to continue as they get older, when there seems to be so many fast girls on the track at younger ages.

It may fall in line with the same reasons there is as many women car mechanics. I would guess there is a stronger reward feedback loop for boys in that type of area. Vroom vroom indeed.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:54 AM on May 3, 2009


Whoops - ...there is *not* as many women car mechanics...
posted by P.o.B. at 3:57 AM on May 3, 2009


OMG NOT A TOMBOY IN THE LOT gets old old old in the article. Lookity look they paint their nails and comb their hair. Golly.

But then I compete in a long-time sport that only opened to women officially about fifteen years ago and has already gotten over that particular syndrome, so perhaps I have it easy.
posted by Peach at 4:01 AM on May 3, 2009


The really cool girls are on drag bikes. Or drag boats (the back of Ashley Ruf's boat, Kwitcherbitchin, says "If you can read this, you just got beat...by a chick!")
posted by TedW at 6:40 AM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


A Friday night movie, a school dance, a first date, a new boyfriend – these are some of the things you would expect from a young girl. But there is something new going on.

Dear christ caricature-girls are boring. I can almost not believe how tiring this sort of shit is getting to me. And that's the first sentence. Awesome. What year is it? Sometime in the 50s?
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:07 AM on May 3, 2009


Also, apparently tomboys are hideous. I never knew.

Anyway, should've previewed. I agree with a lot of what's being said about the 'vibe' of the article, because frankly, it's almost creepy to me. It does strike me as 50s-educational-short-announcer a-la the MST3K shorts, and to be frank, it reminded me of my crazy right-wing grandpa who enjoys occasionally patting me on the hand and giving me a compliment that always sounds a little condescending, unless it's about how pretty I am. I don't consider this to be a good thing.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:16 AM on May 3, 2009


Am I the only one who gets "Devil Bunnies" playing in their head any time the gritty world of racing is mentioned?

"And then he picked up an oil can and threw it at me, almost knocked out my teeth! And I told him that's crazy! I have to race in 20 minutes!"

"And then he predicted a double-suicide, that I was going to die in a crash that day, and he was going to do the same so he could be with me!"

posted by adipocere at 7:18 AM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


A Friday night movie, a school dance, a first date, a new boyfriend – these are some of the things you would expect from a young girl.

Translation: "Boys, hanging out with boys, talking about boys, being an accessory for boys - these are some of the things you would expect from a young girl."
posted by Navelgazer at 7:58 AM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


You could say the girls of Junior Drag Racing are turning heads both in and out of the car

I'm almost more disgusted by this last line -- talking about 8-16 year old girls! turning heads!?! -- than I am about the girls-should-be-at-the-mall-not-behind-the-wheel sexism.
posted by misskaz at 8:33 AM on May 3, 2009


Could they not be turning the heads of 8-16 year old boys, though? That'd make the comment innocent.

I mean, the guy is a sexist idiot who finds it ASTONISHING that girls can do anything other than make tea, but you're making more of an extrapolation than is necessary there. He does say 'turning heads' (which could mean out of surprise or respect at their drag race driving) rather than 'turning my old head'.

'Turning heads' isn't always a sexual thing.
posted by Brockles at 9:13 AM on May 3, 2009


The 'OMG grlz' tone is pretty ridiculous. It's driving. A car. It's not really gender specific when you get down to it.

The anti-tomboy sentiment and turning heads line really turned up the creepy factor. He might as well have said "None of them even looked like lesbians so I might get to sleep with one!"
posted by jopreacher at 9:19 AM on May 3, 2009


I'm willing to bet the crazy social politics on the girls' drag race scene holds many, many similarities to the amateur horse show circuit. Just different rides.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:36 AM on May 3, 2009


She's definitely got some talent - but being recognized and taught by talented people at such a young age helps a lot. Her current racing skills I find a little boring; very nice for a eight-year-old, but no "zOMG FUTURE OF RACING." I'd be interested to see how she drives in ten or twenty years, if she can survive the public attention for that long.

lawl
posted by chronkite at 12:15 PM on May 3, 2009


Maybe the article isn't very good, and the pics so-so, but as long as we have to deal with sexism, I LOVE to see girls out there kicking ass. Whatever kind of ass that might be.
posted by snsranch at 5:05 PM on May 3, 2009


Here's a much better article, fresh off of the NYTimes presses: 8 Years Old, Going on 60 Miles Per Hour.
posted by suedehead at 8:44 PM on May 3, 2009


My twin boy and girl will be hitting the racetrack early, primarily because I feel that driving is one of the most dangerous things they'll do in their lives, so I want them to do it well and respect it. Removing the ooo-aint-it-cool from racing is part of that, certainly -- the slowest drivers (on the street) I know are the ones who raced professionally at some point in their lives.

Frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is, except that so many people still buy into the ooo-aint-it-cool.
posted by davejay at 10:08 PM on May 3, 2009


The NYT did a much better job on this than I did. Thanks suedehead.
posted by caddis at 9:30 AM on May 4, 2009


If my daughter is reading this thread: No.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:45 AM on May 4, 2009


The 'OMG grlz' tone is pretty ridiculous. It's driving. A car. It's not really gender specific when you get down to it.

You mean I'm not supposed to be using my penis?
posted by ODiV at 12:47 PM on May 4, 2009


The 'OMG grlz' tone is pretty ridiculous. It's driving. A car. It's not really gender specific when you get down to it.

You mean I'm not supposed to be using my penis?


No, no, the car IS (a large fire-spewing, steel and rubber extension of) your penis!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:06 PM on May 4, 2009


That's amazing. Did you come up with that brand new, cutting edge, cock-parallel all on your own?

So where does that leave the 8 year old girl? Is that her cock? Or is she desperately wanting a cock? To own? Or is she having wild, fire-spewing, sexual fantasies beyond her tender years?

Or, perhaps, is that so fucking tired as a concept that it has filtered to nearly everyone else as being meaningless?
posted by Brockles at 4:22 PM on May 4, 2009


Yes, Brockles, eight year olds want cock. Eight year olds.

Or, perhaps, is that so fucking tired as a concept that it has filtered to nearly everyone else as being meaningless?

Except that it apparently incites rage when written as a stupid jokey post in a thread about people that are probably too young to be operating large, fire-spewing, steel and rubber machinery at a high rate of speed, regardless of the fact that they may or may not have a penis.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:27 AM on May 5, 2009


a stupid jokey post in a thread about people that are probably too young to be operating large, fire-spewing, steel and rubber machinery at a high rate of speed

Oh is that what it says? Not some bullshit "men in dick-waving competitions" reference from the 1970's that's about as relevant and appropriate a comment as "Drag racing? Get back in the kitchen where you belong, love!" or "At least she'll be able to get home quicker than me to cook my dinner! Guffaw-guffaw!".

And yes, that kind of horseshit pisses me off. Sexist crap comments don't seem to be being eradicated in quite the even-handed manner - whether you were joking or not.
posted by Brockles at 5:15 AM on May 5, 2009


Now, I'm not trying to fan the flames here, but I know you've been around MeFi for quite some time and are no-doubt aware of the tendency of many posters to make ironic or sarcastic wise-cracks regarding concepts they find objectionable or otherwise worthy of mockery. My comment above was exactly that, sloppily executed as it may have been, surely you can see that I was a) reacting to ODiV's wise-assed faux-sexist comment (which incidentally seems to have somehow slipped through your filter unnoticed); and b) purposefully over-the-top in its derision of the concept of dragster-as-penis. Had I meant the comment to be serious, I would probably not have been so blunt.

I just want to be clear about this. Though, yes, I would prefer that my own daughter not participate in motor sports (not because she is a female, but because I don't think it would be very safe for a two-year-old adrenaline junky to drive that fast and also I don't think we could afford it) I have absolutely no problem with women (or girls for that matter) participating in anything; and anything, being the broad topic it is, includes motor-sports. I further believe that the psycological motivations of people that participate in motor-sports are individual and various and could include, but are not limited to, penis issues, the love of precision engineering, the love of speed, the challenge, the feeling of victory, the desire to attract sexual partners, and myriad other reasons that I have not listed here, mainly because I'm lazy and have laziness issues. So, you see, I am a smart-ass, an often ham-handed, lazy, droll, and moronic smart-ass but a smart-ass none the less, and not a 70's caricature of a sexist (though channeling Archie Bunker might be used ocasionally in one of my here-to-fore mentioned ham-handed, moronic, droll smart-assed comments).

So, all the above is a long way of saying if I somehow came off as serious, I'm sorry, that was certainly not my intent and I can understand your feelings, especially in an area that you are so intimately connected.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:53 AM on May 5, 2009


To give some background why I got so irritated:

The whole cock-waving, it's all about BEING MORE OF A MAN crap with cars in general (and particularly fast/competition cars) has always irritated me enormously - I don't like seeing it, especially when racing (my industry for most of my life) is such a man zone, as it makes it harder for women and girls to get involved in racing, and also almost guarantees that they play the swimsuit and pink racing car approach (or shades thereof, and don't get me started on any current examples of that - one in particular) that makes them easier to dismiss and be taken seriously. Just like the nobber in the original article, which is why the relative sizes of the pictures struck a chord with me that perhaps didn't with others.

It is disproportionately hard for women to compete equally with other drivers in racing - there are many reasons for this, some of which revolve around the sadly true fact that there are a tiny fraction of as many girls that are even halfway-good at racing as there are men in the sport, and none that are as good as or better than the top 5-10% of men in the sport in general at present (in any discipline). I'm not sure if that is because the catchment volume of women interested in the sport just doesn't attract a high enough number to have a representative spread of talent as there is for men. It is, however, disproportionately easy for them to play the "BUT I AM A GIRL!!!!" card to get backing and sponsorship and so compete at a higher level than they deserve on raw talent.

It's kind of a minefield. Because they're girls, it's harder to be taken seriously. Because they're girls, they are more marketable in terms of attracting sponsors, but that marketability is usually more aligned to looks than driving ability, which kind of cheapens the whole damn process anyway. While, to some extent, making a fuss about them being a girl is helpful for them to get involved in the sport, but it doesn't help the sport overall appeal to more females as it strengthens the "It's a man's world, but we don't mind pretty girls playing!" crap that turns them all off it. In addition, women getting massive backing and exposure way out of line with their driving talent produces resentment and bitterness with a lot of significantly better drivers that haven't got the money for a drive. They become seen as an obstacle to the talent ladder because they are filling seats they have no justification to be in, save their chequebook and fancy marketing campaign.

So, this is kind of a red flag for me - I'm more than happy to see girls in racing, but they should be allowed to compete equally in as many respects as possible. I do think there will always be a limitations to how much the competition will be truly equal (in the same was as other athletic sports don't suggest direct competition, as the physical aspect of the sport is immense higher up the career ladder) but breaking the gender majority would be no bad thing for the forward progression of the sport. Raising awareness of women making it in racing will help it, but the way this is promoted at present is potentially as damaging to adding momentum to that change as the current situation already is in terms of attracting more women to racing.

So. I was possibly a little more... reacting, than you were expecting but hopefully I have explained why. It seems I may have been a bit harsh, for which I apologise, but as you say, this one is a little close to home.
posted by Brockles at 7:43 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


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