Gracie Trotter would like to be like Kyle Busch one day.
The up-and-coming driver, who was announced as part of the 2019 Drive for Diversity class to drive a late model for Rev Racing on Thursday, admires Busch’s boldness for speaking his mind.
“I’ve always been kind of shy,” she told NASCAR.com. “The more I’ve been brought up into the racing ranks, the more my personality comes out now and I’m not as shy anymore.”
The opportunity for her personality to shine is wide open now; at 17 years old, Trotter is one of the youngest members of the Drive for Diversity class, a NASCAR program that aids and develops young drivers of different ethnicities, backgrounds and genders. In her young career, Trotter has won two Bojangles’ Summer Shootouts at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was the highest finishing woman in the 2018 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout.
Trotter has always had a passion for racing; her grandfather and father, Tracy Trotter, raced, and she grew up going to race tracks like Hickory Motor Speedway and Concord Speedway.
“My dad used to own a race team, so that’s what I grew up doing and one day, I just begged him to start racing,” she said. “He didn’t really want to do it because he knew how hard and expensive it would be to make it in the sport of racing.
“So, one day when I was about eight years old, he bought a go-kart, he rented it and we went and tested together and that’s kind of how it all started from there. He bought me a go-kart and I started racing the next year. Raced go-karts for about five years and then 2015, I moved to the oval and started racing bandos.”
“… He went ahead and took the risk because he knew I’d have a fun time and we could do it together as father and daughter and have a fun time with that,” she said later on her dad buying her a go-kart to race. “But a few years later, it ended up being I got a chance with Toyota Racing Development and now here with Rev Racing, so it’s a big opportunity, as my dad said I’m basically living his dream. So, me and him have been having fun.”
Trotter isn’t the only Drive for Diversity class member who grew up around local short tracks; Brooke Storer has spent her last few years racing a Sportsman around Central Florida. Among other titles, the 20-year-old driver was recently crowned Sportsman Champion at Auburndale Speedway and clinched the 2016 Desoto Speedway Sportsman Championship.
Like Trotter, she is a first-time member of the Drive for Diversity class and will race in a late model for Rev Racing in 2019.
“My mom and dad got me a go-kart when I was 8 years old,” she said. “I’ve been non-stop ever since. We moved up to stock cars when I was 12 and we’ve been racing locally in the sportsman division in Central Florida. …
“I’m very ready,” she said earlier about taking the next step in her career. “We had a really good 2018 season in Central Florida in the Wheel Man Series and Auburndale Speedway. … And I think that boosted my confidence a lot coming into Rev and run the NASCAR Late Model Stock Series.”
Storer and Trotter are the only female members of the 2019 Drive for Diversity class. Both drivers referenced the hardships — as well as the positive aspects — that come with being a woman racer.
But in the end, Storer and Trotter put on helmets, drive and race for wins, as they look to move up through the racing ranks.
Just like everyone else.
“Honestly, I look at myself as just another driver,” Storer said. “But I do like helping other females kind of get them up here in the sport and push them. It can be devastating at times with the way people can be and act toward you.
“But to me, it just motivates me to be better and keep pushing forward and get other females in the sport.”