Courtesy of MLive.com
HOLLAND — Before Taylor Christenson got her license this summer, she was well on her way to becoming the female driver of the year for Unique Motor Sports.
The 16-year-old, who will be a 10th-grader at Holland Black River, has smashed and bashed her way to the top of the off-road powder puff standings, including a heat victory Friday at the Ottawa County Fair.
“I thought I would be horrible and nobody would know me, but it’s been totally different,” said Christenson, the youngest female driver on the circuit. “I love it all — the adrenaline, hitting people. … It’s a lot of fun doing something that no one else really does. It’s unique.
“I second-guess myself about hitting people but, then, I just floor it and smash into them and push them out of my way.”
What’s even more amazing about Christenson is watching her 4-foot-11, 85-pound frame climb into her 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix.
“Not many of them take me seriously,” said Christenson, who calls this her summer job. “I’m not very strong, but I guess it doesn’t take a lot. You don’t get moved around a lot. You’re in there pretty tight and have lots of protection.
“I’ve had no injuries but did flip over a car. My friends think it’s crazy that I do this, but they all come to support me.”
After watching her dad, Terry, and brother, Justin, race for years, she always wanted to give it a try.
“I’ve been driving for a long time — not legally — but I started driving legally on the road in June,” Christenson said. “I’m actually a calm, cautious driver on the road.”
She got off to a great start early this summer by winning her first race, a feature against all men.
“The guys are a lot faster and a lot more aggressive,” Christenson said.
Terry, who won a heat Friday using his daughter’s car for the first time, said he is not too worried about her safety.
“It’s not really too nerve-wracking because of the quality of cars we use,” said Terry, who owns TLC Automotive in Holland. “We’ve been building these cars for a lot of years.
“It rattles me a little bit. She has been upside down once, but nothing happened.”
Justin, 27, said he is shocked by his sister.
“I was surprised her first race out, she won the whole thing,” said Justin, who raced for eight years. “It takes some patience and some skill, and she’s got it. I’m pretty impressed.”