Auto Racing: Q-and-A with Alex Gay
August 15, 2013 10:58PM
Alex Gay | Kim Kemperman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2013 8:32AM
Gay, 19, of Morris, is in her first full season of racing. She’s second in points in pure stocks at Grundy County Speedway.
You were born in Blue Island. Do you remember Raceway Park?
Yes. I was basically born there and went there as a toddler. My dad (Darrell Gay) drove in street stocks and enduros.
You’re second in points in your first year of racing. How does that happen?
Yeah, we didn’t see that coming. But I’ve been in second basically the whole year. It’s pretty exciting.
What was it like when you first started driving?
It was pretty nerve-racking, sitting there before we’d get on the track. And then I’m like, “All right, you can do this.” Once you start driving, it just goes away. I’m like a demon on the highway, anyway.
Do you even think twice about being a girl driver?
Not really. That’s the first thing everyone always has a comment about. But for me, I feel like I’m just one of them (male drivers). Obviously, I can do just as good as them because I’m second in points.
What do you think about Danica Patrick?
I don’t know ... Everybody likes to compare us. It’s fun to have a girl in NASCAR and me racing here. She likes to crash and have a lot of problems. (Smiling) Maybe I’m a little better.
What was your biggest highlight?
Definitely my feature win. That was pretty exciting. That trophy ... it was just surreal when they gave it to me and it hit me.
When you date guys, do they get intimidated because you’re a race car driver?
I’ve been dating the same guy for 21/2 years, and he tries to say that he can do it better. He drives my (street) car and goes a little fast, and I yell at him. Hopefully, one day he can get a (stock) car and we’ll race.
Where do you see this winding up?
Hopefully, I learn all this and put it together and get in bigger classes in a couple of years. I’m almost in my 20s, so I don’t know if NASCAR is in the picture. But it would be a dream come true.
What kind of work do you do outside of racing?
I do hair. I work at a salon in Morris, and I’m working at a bar-restaurant to make money for the race car.
Do you work on your own car?
I help, but if anything major breaks my dad and the other guys work on it. But they definitely make me help, that’s for sure. I don’t get a free ride.
As told to Tony Baranek