BLACKFOOT – It may not have been a planned event, but just about a year ago Dani Beebe and her fiance Jake Amrein talked about putting her behind the steering wheel of a race car at Atomic Motor Raceway.
They may have giggled a bit and laughed and chalked it up to a dream, but car owner Blake Lyle gave them the opportunity to have an old car of his, and the dream became a reality.
“It started out as an experiment, just to see if I could really drive a car and then it became a reality,” Dani Beebe said. “I have been driving at both Atomic Motor Raceway and at the track in Pocatello, which is asphalt, and it has been a real eye-opening experience.”
Beebe has been a bit of a natural if nothing else. In fact, she has already won two trophies while racing at Pocatello in the tough “Hornet Class.”
While she hasn’t done quite as well on the dirt track at Atomic Motor Raceway, she is consistently placing in the top three and has demonstrated that she will most likely be the “Rookie of the Year” at both tracks and she has definitely gotten better as the season has gone along.
“Personally, I think that the asphalt track has been tougher to become proficient on,” Beebe said. “With the smaller track, only 1/8 of a mile oval as opposed to the quarter mile track at Atomic, you have the turns coming up so much faster that as soon as you get up to speed, you are already on the brakes in order to make it around the turn.”
A lot of drivers have found it to be the other way around, with the sliding around the turns on a dirt track a bit harder to adjust to, but not to Beebe, which is probably what will make her a championship driver in very little time.
AMR, for instance, has second year driver Orinda Newman atop the standings in the Hornet Class, while Beebe is sitting in third. Also in the rankings is Brandi Jackman, which is causing some of the drivers to hope that there can be an all women’s class for next year and if a few more ladies are willing to tackle the driving part, there will probably be some cars that become available in short order.
The car that Beebe is currently driving is a Plymouth Neon and it is pretty standard for the class she is in. She is learning to do some of the minor work on the car, like changing out spark plugs and changing the oil, but anything serious, Amrein, another driver, usually takes care of for her.
“I am working on learning a lot about the maintenance on the car and I would like to get where I can do most of it,” Beebe said. “Jake is a big help and he has been patient with me and I am learning a lot as we go.”
Beebe is also a hard working mother of one who works full-time at Ace Hardware. She is also learning a bit about cars from the the customers who she sees each and every day. Her son Derek is four years old, and is already a big fan of racing and can be found at the track every Saturday night.
“I guess we brought this on ourselves, when Jake and I both started racing,” Beebe said. “I mean what else is Derek going to be interested in, we are at the track every Saturday so it is only natural that he finds it to be fun. Before you know it, he will be beating both of us at the race track.”
If the action at AMR a couple of weeks ago is any indication, then the future of racing will be in good hands as time goes by. On July 27, AMR held a Kids Appreciation night and they had their biggest crowd in a couple of years and at least half of those in attendance were kids.
There was excitement when the kids had the chance to mix in with the drivers on the track, getting autographs and taking pictures with the cars. There is great interest there and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
There is a lot of competitiveness among the lady drivers and you can see that they are getting more and more aggressive as they each become more comfortable behind the steering wheel. As the confidence grows, they will only get better and better and an all women’s class of racing is only making more and more sense as the time goes by. Pretty soon they will be dominating all of the racing at AMR and the men will be left to pick up the pieces.