THE 3TARDS proudly sponsor the back end (what else?) of Kristi Wolfe's stock car at Sunset Speedway in Stroud, Ontario
Kristi with her first two winning trophies!
Click here to check out Sunset Speedway
Kristi Wolfe: Driver, Valley Auto Racing
Her father John Wolfe, Crew Chief for Valley Auto Racing, initially got Kristi interested in racing by taking her to races. Once he saw she had quickly become a fan John asked Kristi about racing in the Women on Wheels class at 1/4 mile Varney Motor Speedway near Mount Forest, On. Immediately she wanted to get behind the wheel.
On her first practice night Kristi got into a friend's stock car. She was a little tentative and told by her father she was "driving like a little old lady." She more than made up for this cautious approach the next time she got on the track. Having had a week to ruminate on her less-than-speedy debut, Kristi got into another friend's stock car and had no trouble using the accelerator. At the end of the practice laps Kristi's father was grinning from ear to ear – she was ready to race.
That winter, John Wolfe built a stock car for Kristi in the family's automotive repair business. The following spring she registered for the Women on Wheels 2000 season, with just those two practice nights under her belt. The season's 'Tech and Tune' day was only her third time in a stock car and her first practice with her own car, a 1983 Malibu.
In addition to having her father as Crew Chief, Kristi's step-mother Dawn has become an integral member of the racing team -- and the only one who can wear white to the track.
"Even with all the chaos around her in the stands, Dawn can always be counted on to provide moment-to-moment details of the key events in each race. I call her 'Eagle Eye' and she's the only member of the crew who doesn't go home with grease all over their clothes."
After driving in the Women on Wheels class for two years, Kristi joined the Street Stock class at Varney for another two seasons. The aggressive 'bump and rub' style of driving employed by the predominantly male drivers was a learning experience she'll never forget...mainly because the other drivers reminded her on an ongoing basis that she would never be 'one of the boys'. In spite of this challenging learning environment Kristi finished both years in the top third of the division and won awards for Best Appearing Car (2000 and 2002).
In 2004 the team moved to the 1/3 mile Sunset Speedway in Stroud, 45 minutes north of Toronto. Kristi finished her first season in the top half of the 37-car Thunder Car division and she's confident the 2005 season will bring even greater results.
"Sunset is billed as "Ontario's Quickest 1/3 Mile", so it was a great first season there. The track atmosphere, the competitiveness of the drivers, the friendliness of the owners, and the mood of the fans kept me looking forward to the 2005 season throughout this past winter. I can't wait to get into the car this year."
Like most Thunder Car drivers, Kristi fills her time between races with a full-time job. She graduated in 2003 with a diploma in Interior Design from Sheridan College in Oakville, and works for an interior design firm which specializes in retirement and long-term care facilities. From Monday to Friday she focuses on her creative talents but, once Friday night comes, she turns in her corporate wardrobe and drives 90 minutes from home in Toronto to team headquarters in Grand Valley, west of Orangeville.
"Once the season starts in May, my weekends are 100% racing until the fall. Friday night we talk through any adjustments the crew made during the week, then Saturday morning I start with my pre-race checklist and any further alterations needed before we load the car on the trailer. After the 75-minute drive to the track we end up with about two hours for practice, followed by the drivers' meeting and pit parade before our first race.
"On a typical race night I'm in two heats and one feature race. Races start at about 7pm and can run until as late as midnight. At the end of the night I wind down by watching my friends race before we load up the car and drive back to Grand Valley. Sunday is all about dealing with whatever happened to the car the night before, hopefully nothing too major...but this sport is known for the occasional 'bump and rub'," she says with a smile.
By: Jennifer Johnston