Tristan Wedmore finished fifth in her last race but really isn’t concerned about where she finishes because she is having such a great time.
To her, it’s not all about winning. She finished in last place in her three races of last year and she is in it to improve.
Wedmore is the only female Super Stock racer at the Pahrump Valley Speedway and is 18 and a senior at the high school.
Her stepfather, Eric Shenberger, races and builds race cars. She said she got into the sport at the end of last season because her father had a spare Super Stock lying around and he was so much into racing.
She said she races because it’s exciting.
“I like racing because it’s fun and you get a little rush when you do it,” she said. “That is really cool. I just recently got interested in racing. This racing is to me is a hobby and it’s fun. So why not?”
She said she hasn’t really made up her mind if she wants to continue with the racing after high school.
“I have so many things to do after high school,” she said. “She is sure her brother will want the car when he is old enough to drive it. I am planning on studying to be a dental hygienist after this year.”
She started in the Super Stocks because it was the only race car Shenberger had lying around that she could race. Most beginners start racing in a Mini-Stock, which are a lot slower.
Shenberger said that he wasn’t concerned about that, but he knows that the Super Stock is safe. He said the car has all the latest safety equipment.
This year she said she has improved and her best finish was a third and a fifth place.
She also said she almost didn’t return this season. In the last race of the season she was involved in a wreck last year.
“I was coming around the turn and there was a big pileup on the track and I t-boned a car and I had to go to the hospital,” Wedmore said. “It was really scary. I was lucky that I wasn’t hurt too bad and the only thing that was damaged on the car was the radiator.”
Wedmore went to the hospital where she was treated for a sprained wrist and torn ligaments in her neck.
“Eric said he would leave it up to me to race again,” Wedmore said. “I knew I would race again because I knew this wasn’t my fault. It was a crash that I didn’t cause and couldn’t avoid because it happened so quickly.”
She said it was good that it was the last race of the season because she had a chance to make up her mind if she wanted to race again while she healed.
She said this season she doesn’t really think about the crash too much.
“I only think of it sometimes,” she said. “When cars get really close to me, when I am racing and then I slow down a bit because it freaks me out. Other than that, I am not that afraid. Once I am in the race I feel better.”
She said the racing does make her a better driver on the highways but she finds driving around the town now is different.
“It’s really strange going from the race car to my normal car,” she said.
Racing in the Super Stocks can be intimidating she said because she is the only female in the field.
“I race with a bunch of older guys, like in their 30s and 40s and it’s just weird,” the young racer said. “I really don’t talk to the other racers too much, just Jim Wulfenstein and Rafael Flores. They are my buddies and they give me advice on racing.”
Her stepfather is her main adviser though and he never pressures her.
“My dad always tell me to go at my own pace,” she said. “That helps me. He wants me to gain experience and to get comfortable with the car.”
You can see Wedmore race this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Pahrump Valley Speedway.