Local 16-year-old finds success in drag racing
Cassidy Haggard is following in her father's footsteps and has taken the steering wheel of his 2001 Camaro SS for drag racing.
The 16-year-old Park Rapids Area High School junior said it's her dad, Dave's, fault that she fell in love with speed and racing.
"It all started when I went to the track with my dad when I was 12, 13," she said.
Cassidy kept saying she was going to race her dad's car. All along she was asking questions and watching other racers and learning everything she could. She's been racing since she turned 16 this spring.
"We went out on some back roads and did some practicing as soon as I got my license," Cassidy said.
The Camaro is sunset orange and has an LS1 engine backed by an automatic with a 3.23 gear ratio. It is street registered.
For her first race, Dave started out in the passenger seat but soon after she was doing solo runs.
Cassidy has a personal best time of 13.31 for a quarter mile with a top speed of 106 mph.
Her mother, Gina, was nervous about her daughter racing at first but has come around.
"They actually never told me about the first time she went to race until after they got home," Gina said.
She competed in the Wednesday night street drags at Brainerd International Raceway and hopes to continue entering those races next year.
There's a lot more to drag racing than hitting the gas, Dave and Cassidy said.
"She has quick reflexes and that's why she's able to get the times she gets," Dave said.
Cassidy won't reveal any of her tricks, though.
She finished second in a competitive shoot-out for reaction time.
"I like to go fast," Cassidy said about her love of racing. "I like to beat the boys, too."
A lot of people don't know that Cassidy races. She's involved in basketball, paints, works at Dairy Queen and was in the Wolf Lake pageant this year.
"When people find out I race they think it's pretty cool," Cassidy said.
Dave's friends aren't surprised after seeing her accompany him to the track for years.
"I'd like to get another car in a few years, get to the next level," Cassidy said.
She's already being recognized for her driving. Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine featured Cassidy in a story about her determination to race in its November issue.
"I already gave out an autograph at work, too," she said. "Someone had the article and thought I should sign it. It might be worth something someday."