By Michaela Ludwig For the Rimbey Review
Racetracks and fast cars aren’t just for boys. In fact, Ashley Makofka, 17, a junior bracket racer at Central Alberta Raceways, is making it her goal to leave those boys in the dust.
A bracket racer competes in drag races at one-eighth of a mile. Drivers need to be spot on for their timing, to start as soon as the light turns green. In bracket racing, it’s important for drivers to be consistent with their times
Although this is her first year sitting in the driver’s seat, Makofka is no stranger to the racetrack.
“I got into racing because I’ve been hanging out at the track basically since I was born,” she said. “It’s always been something I’ve wanted to try.”
Makofka’s grandfather, Ward, is one of the founders for Central Alberta Raceways, and her father, Jeff, also races. This makes Makofka a third generation drag racer.
“So far, it’s been great,” Makofka said of her first racing season. “I love it. I think it’s so fun. I get to hang out with my family there, bond with my dad and grandpa.”
Makofka said her biggest accomplishment so far this season is her take-off from the light, where she earned a 0.001 light – almost a perfect take off.
“It’s hard to do,” she explained.
“I had all these men coming up to me and saying: you’re just a little girl, how did you do that?’”
Makofka said it’s not always easy being a female racer.
“I definitely don’t feel as included, because there’s not a lot of female racers. You have all these boys telling you, ‘You’re just a girl. You can’t do that.’ But I’m out to prove them wrong. You can be a woman racer. It’s not just for men.”
Currently, Makofka races a 2002 Grand Prix with a supercharger, but she and her dad are building a 1968 Barracuda Fastback with a 340 small block Dodge engine.
Makofka will be graduating high school next year and she hopes to go on to Olds College for their animal health technology program.
But she’s not going to stop racing.
Makofka said she’s hoping to get into bigger and faster cars and bring the sport back to life.
“There’s not a lot of young people racing,” she said.
“But you don’t have to have a top-fuel dragster to race. I’m definitely not spending thousands of dollars just to race.”
Makofka said she would encourage more people, especially women, to get into drag racing.
“It’s a great community. Both my parents and grandparents have made so many friends over the years. It’s a nice way to bring everyone together.”