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Victoria Beaner.

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Victoria Beaner

Victoria Beaner is a 10-year-old on a mission. She drives a car best described as a small rocket. She is learning to weld. She is a part-time receptionist at her family’s business. She speaks eloquently, thoughtfully, and confidently. The girl with long red hair and freckles has become the driver to beat most weekends at dragstrips across the country. She climbs into her junior dragster, straps on her helmet, waits for the light to turn green and powers down the one-eighth mile track in about 9 seconds, hitting speeds over 72 mph. How good is she? Consider these stats: 31 wins – 26 in the last 14 months – in just three years of competitive racing. Most of the time, the LaBelle, Fla. resident is beating the boys as few girls compete in any form of racing. “It is really fun going fast and I really enjoy going on the track and racing,” Victoria said. Three years ago, Victoria’s father, Darin, a retired racer himself, took two junior dragsters on a trade, curious as if his daughter would even know what they were or even have the courage to climb in one. He took the two dragsters, made one, and it didn’t take long to learn Victoria’s answer. “He asked me if I wanted to race, and I thought that was pretty cool, so I said ‘yes,’” Victoria said. “We went out to a local race, and I raced, and I really didn’t want to quit. That first race was amazing, making my first pass. I wanted to keep racing.” She won that first race against 17-year-olds. She hasn’t looked back, only forward, and getting better. She has made over 800 passes or trips down the track and keeps piling up championships in the 10-13-year-old division – or the NHRA’s Div. II Junior Intermediate Class - at her local tracks in Bradenton and Orlando and around the country. “I have gained a lot of knowledge in the racing industry since I first started,” Victoria said. “When I was a beginner, I raced the boys and I beat them all. I believe I have earned their respect.” That knowledge is thanks to her father, who also serves as crew chief. Darin and his wife, Lisa, own Fusion Metalworks in Fort Myers. Victoria gets to experience her dad’s racing background and mechanical expertise each time down the track. “It brings more fun to the sport because he is the best. He has my car right in tune and does everything perfect,” Victoria said. But after a trip down the track, Victoria doesn’t sit back and relax until the next race. She helps her dad by cleaning the racecar, checking belts and tires. As her dad teaches her to weld, she will be able to fix equipment on the car.