Gracie Trotter Tackles the Bojangles' Summer Shootout
After the last Bojangles' Summer Shootout feature ended on Tuesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a red-and-white No. 11 WIX Filters Legend Car had a crowd around it as fans chatted with the car's driver, Gracie Trotter, following her first win of the summer at America's Home for Racing.
Trotter is clearly not like many 17-year-old girls. As more female drivers head to Charlotte Motor Speedway to compete in the Bojangles' Summer Shootout, the third-generation driver has staked her claim to being one of the fastest and aggressive females on the track.
"There's a lot of competition at the Bojangles' Summer Shootout because it's the biggest Legend Car event there is and it's right in here in North Carolina," said Trotter, a native of Denver, North Carolina. "Lots of drivers from all over the country will come here, so I get to race against the best of the best in Legend Cars."
Through the ups and downs as a young female driver, Trotter has remained focused on her ultimate goal: to drive her way to the top of the professional ranks. This year has seen Trotter get closer than ever closer to achieving her objective after being selected for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program with Rev Racing. In addition to her exploits in the VP Racing Fuels Semi-Pro division at the Shootout - where Trotter ranks fourth in points after five of 10 races - she's made her first foray into late model stock car racing.
Late model cars are another stepping-stone to NASCAR, offering more horsepower and a stiffer challenge for drivers getting acquainted with such machines.
"It's been great getting to work with new people, a new car, I've never driven a late model stock until this year," Trotter said. "It's really been a fun time and they're helping me reach my goals of eventually getting to the top levels of NASCAR."
For now, Trotter splits her time between late model racing on area short tracks and the Bojangles' Summer Shootout on Charlotte's frontstretch quarter-mile.
"Legend Cars are really fun to drive," Trotter said. "They're like nothing you will ever drive. They're very difficult. …. I think they (Legend Cars) really help me when I go back to race the other cars (late model stocks and super late models).
"It took me about two years to actually get good in a Legend Car here. Charlotte is a very hard track to learn, so it took me a while to get my first win."
Like her maiden Shootout victory last year, Trotter's second triumph came before a fireworks show at the speedway. With five races left in the Shootout season, Trotter stands just 13 points behind division leader Jason Alder - with the potential to have an even bigger celebration when the Bojangles' Summer Shootout concludes with another fireworks show on July 30.
Before then, fans can catch Trotter and the entire Bojangles' Summer Shootout's seven racing divisions on Tuesday night. Gates open at 5 p.m. with opening ceremonies slated for 6:15 p.m.