Boys take backseat to racing for female trio

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2005

Most Saturday nights you won't find Brandy Thaggard, Rosie McLain and Tiffany Simmons at the typical teenage hangout.

You'll find them at the Butler County Motorsports Park instead.

You won't find them in the stands, either. You'll find them behind the wheels of their front-wheel drive Hogg division cars.

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Racing isn't just a hobby for all three. It's a passion.

"I want to be buried in my race car," Thaggard said. "Can they do that?"

"I want to marry my race car," Simmons responded.

So while the girls are in front seat of their cars, boys sometimes have to take a backseat.

"We lose more boyfriends because of racing," explained Simmons.

And that doesn't seem to be a concern for any of the teenagers. In fact Simmons' current boyfriend is now a fellow driver.

They still chase the boys. Only the chase is to pass them while they race for the checkered flag.

Being a female on the race track has had its advantages, too.

"Sometimes I flirt with (the men), so that way they take it easy with me on the track," McLain said. "It works most times. Only it doesn't work like it used to since I started winning."

The trio swept the feature race two weeks ago.

"It felt great," McLain said. "It was neat for people to see that a girl can (race) just like a guy."

While all three race on the dirt track outside of Greenville, McLain is the only licensed driver of the trio.

Simmons will get her license in September and Thaggard will get her license in March.

But racing comes naturally for all three. The teenagers practically grew up on the dirt track.

McLain has family in racing, Thaggard's father raced and her grandfather owns the Butler County dirt track. Simmons' father was a dirt track racer and her uncle is a drag racer.

"It's the rush and excitement of getting in that race car and putting the pedal to the floor," Thaggard said.

Even at the ages of 15 and 16, the girls have become role models for the younger girls who come to the track to watch them race.

"It's a nice feeling when you have other young girls come up to you and say they want to do the same thing I do when they get older," Simmons said. "I makes you feel good that they are in the stands cheering for you."