Barnes Chasing Dreams in Summer Shootout Series
Some girls want to grow up and become teachers or actresses, but 14-year-old Annabeth Barnes is chasing her dream of becoming a NASCAR driver in the 16th annual Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"Ever since I was really little I wanted to be the first girl to win the Daytona 500," said Barnes. "I just really want to be in NASCAR. That's all I've ever wanted."
In a sport dominated by males, Barnes of Hiddenite, N.C., set out to achieve her dream of driving a race car at an early age. She started racing go-karts when she was 8-years-old and has spent the last few years competing in the World Karting Association.
Barnes participates in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, and won two national titles and five state titles last year, but says her greatest achievement was winning the 2006 Jr. Big Dog championship in Carnesville, Ga.
Barnes couldn't help but to fall in love with motorsports as she comes from a long line of racers. Her father used to race stock cars, her older sister raced go-karts, while her grandfather and great-grandfather participated in the infamous moonshine runs that are a large part of the humble beginnings of organized stock car racing.
The eighth grader showed off her racing ability in 2006 when she was selected to star in a documentary, appropriately titled "Racing Dreams." The movie followed three young go-kart racers throughout the course of an entire WKA season, as they encounter the trials of adolescence with the realities of making a career in racing. "Racing Dreams" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year and won Best Documentary Feature.
"It's all about our lives and not just about racing," said Barnes.
"It shows what we go through, our dedication to the sport and the sacrifices we make to do what we love."
After enjoying success in go-karts, Barnes decided to try her hand at racing Bandoleros. She made her debut at the Summer Shootout Series on June 9, earning a sixth-place finish in the Young Guns/Outlaw feature.
"It's really good to have all my friends here and be able to work on my driving," she said. "The Summer Shootout Series is a great series and Charlotte Motor Speedway handles it well."
The 10-week Summer Shootout Series runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 11. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 on race nights. Parking is free. Admission is just $7 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free.
Spectator gates open each Tuesday at 5 p.m. with heat racing at 5:25 p.m. Feature action begins at 7:30 p.m. and concludes by 10:15p.m.
Contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information or visit us online.