Junior high principal learning the basics in ARCA RE/MAX series
By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
Agu. 18, 2003
GLADEVILLE, Tenn. Junior high school principal Kim Crosby spent her summer getting an education of her own.
Not only does the 38-year-old from Slidell, La., encourage her students to reach for their dreams, but she enjoys chasing her's as well.
She achieved at least one of those when she slipped behind the wheel of her No. 00 Golden Flake Monte Carlo and finished in the top 25 in a pair of ARCA RE/MAX races.
"I am very much a long-range planner," she said just after qualifying for the Waste Management 200 here at the Nashville Superspeedway earlier this month. "If I have a goal, I usually write it down and stick it on my bathroom mirror and give myself a certain number of years (to reach it)."
While Crosby is a veteran of 15 years of racing on the NHRA and IHRA drag circuits, she said there was something about stock car racing that lured her behind the wheel.
"I love the speeds," she said. "And being a drag racer, that's what you go out there for. But being able to do the sustained speeds for an hour-and-a-half or longer was something I was really interested in doing."
The speeds in ARCA RE/MAX series are comparable to those in NASCAR Winston Cup races.
Many of the drivers in the series buy their cars from Winston Cup teams. "It's the same cars and most of the same tracks," Crosby said.
Many former ARCA drivers, including the likes of Davey Allison, have made a name for themselves as Winston Cup drivers, but for the most part, the field is made up of guys and gals working their way to the top with limited budgets and the burden of having to hold down more than one job.
There are a couple of exceptions to that rule, most notably four-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel and the Jason Jarrett, the son of Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett and grandson of NASCAR legend Ned Jarrett.
Crosby first saw an ARCA race when she and her husband bought tickets to a race weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway eight years ago.
"My husband (Chris) and I were in the stands and we fell in love with the series," Crosby said. "They were out there pushing it to the limit."
Crosby also says the series which races on asphalt, concrete and dirt on tracks ranging from a half-mile to the 2.5 superspeedways at Daytona and Talladega has come a long way in a short time.
"ARCA has grown so much," she said. "Eight years ago you would go to an ARCA race and you would see crash after crash after crash, but the quality of racers I'm talking about the Frank Kimmels and Jason Jarretts and guys like that has improved tremendously. Those people are phenomenal."
While Crosby claims to be a race driver first and a woman second, she also acknowledges that she is a definite minority in the sport she loves so much.
"Like I said many time, when I get in that car, it doesn't know whether I am male or female," she said. "I just go out and drive it to the best of my ability.
"But I do know that 40 percent of the fans sitting in the stands are female and I'm telling you the market is wide open for some female products to come in, because it is the women who go to the grocery stores and do most of the shopping."
Crosby finished 21st in the Channel 5-205 at the Kentucky Speedway in May and was 23rd out of 40 drivers at the Waste Management 200 at the Nashville Superspeedway.
She has at least one more goal for this season.
"If I can get to Talladega, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, I will have made my goal for the year," she said.