Traci Lewis – From Street Racing to the Track
Traci doesn’t come from a long family history of drag racers, nor did she start riding at a young age as many of us have. But speed was in her DNA.
Traci has always been a speed junkie and never shyed away from the challenges of competing in male dominated sports. Check out our interview with this determined and motivating young lady.
Crystal: Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been drag racing and how did you get involved in it?
Traci: I’ve been drag racing since 1999. I started riding motorcycles in 1996 with learning on a ’95 GSXR-1100 – yeah, a big-boy bike. I got into drag racing in part due to my reputation on the street with street racing, something I do not advocate at all. One Friday evening, the guys I rode with (being one of only a handful of female riders in DC at that time) wanted to go to Capitol Raceway to check out some drag racing action, so I of course tagged along. Long story short, they talked me into trying it and I was immediately hooked! A short while later, I bought a new bike (then, a 2000 GSXR-750) and from that point on was determined to go fast.
Crystal: What type of bike do you race?
Traci: I used to race a 2004 Kawasaki ZX-10R with NOS, but this year I rode a 2007 GSXR-1000 on loan from one of my mentors Mr. Keith Thompson.
Crystal: How do you feel being a female in a male dominated sport?
Traci: Confident. I’ve always participated in traditionally male competitive sports. I played basketball, ran track in high school and ran NCAA Division 1 track in college. If you are dedicated to whatever your passion is and have a great support system, you will succeed while making a great name for yourself in these male-dominated sports — and they will always remember you.
Crystal: Do you have current or past sponsors you would like to recognize?
Traci: Since I am not racing competitively this season I haven’t signed with any sponsors, but would like to give a shout out to my former sponsors who greatly helped me along the way; World Wide Bearings, BST Wheels, Richie’s Tires, Brock’s Performance, FBR Shop, and Schnitz Racing.
Crystal: I remember seeing you race at Maryland International Raceway before I was able to race in 2001 and said I want to be like her! You impressed me and others at the 2nd Annual Paint the ¼ Mile Pink race on July 22, 2012. You took 3 years off and got back in the saddle and rode the wheels off and lit the board with an 8.96 ET. How did it feel getting back on the bike after so long? What are your plans from here on out when it comes to racing?
Traci: We go way back huh? I felt rejuvenated last month in that race! I had no idea what kind of times or what kind of performance I would give with not being on a bike in more than 3 years. That first pass felt really slow, until I got the ticket. I was pleasantly blown away with the results. That pass got the cobwebs helping me to get my own groove back. On my second pass, I rocked 8.96 pass down the 1/4 mile and OH MY, I felt that rush again!
Beyond missing the speed and adrenaline rush, I missed the camaraderie with my other lady racers. As far as my future plans, I will definitely be back out. Although, my priorities have shifted and I may not make i to every race, you will see me on that 1/4 again. It’s safe to say I’m no longer retired!
Crystal Dickerson, Clutch Girlz Editor
Professional drag racer
Photo credits: Kwame Olds, K.O. Photography / Traci Lewis