When Alex Taylor was 16 years old, she lined her 1968 Camaro up on the start line during Hot Rod Magazine’s 2013 Drag Week. It was her debut on the big stage, and she was looking to prove herself on multiple levels. She was young. She was a woman. And she and her family had prepped what she called the Badmaro for both competition and daily driving. She was there to start living her dream.
“I grew up in the shop,” Taylor told me in a recent interview with Jalopnik. “My dad, as a profession, is a builder Jim, a little bit more from the street side, the show car side. Regardless, I was still always in the shop, always super hands on. I was always the kid that was asking the questions. I wanted to know how things worked, why I did this. And thankfully for me, I had a dad that was also very much a teacher.”
Her family initially bought the Badmaro for Debbie Taylor, Alex’s mom, but it quickly became clear that the family’s young daughter was destined to be behind the wheel. Her father, Dennis Taylor, helped her learn what she needed to know to build and prep a race car. Her mother served as her co-pilot. Together, they made Alex the youngest competitor ever to enter Drag Week.
“Thankfully, I started very young,” Alex said when I asked how people received a young woman competing on their turf. “It wasn’t so much the female thing as it was that I was young. People were very supportive — they’d say it was refreshing to see [someone so young]. And you know, there is of course some backlash, but it’s mainly from the internet. People within the industry, however, are so receptive.”
Because she started so young, Taylor was racing while also attending high school and college — something that presented its own challenges.
“Going to school and racing... it was an overwhelming schedule, but I’m thankful that I had such a busy schedule cause it’s kind of prepared me for now,” Taylor laughed. “I graduated high school as valedictorian. I missed 50 days, I think, my senior year. Thankfully my principal worked with me.”
That mindset carried her into college, where she graduated from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith with a BBA in Marketing, which has enabled her to learn the value of personal management and promotion, something she’s used to great effect on social media and her YouTube channel.
Now, Taylor is looking to upgrade her NHRA Competition license after spending the start of 2021 building a new car with her dad: a 1XX Proof street-legal tube chassis 1955 Chevy, which took the two five months to build before she was able to get behind the wheel.
As for as her advice for young girls looking to find a path in motorsport? It’s simple: “Get started. Don’t get nervous. Find something that might interest you and just try it.”
That seems like pretty damn good advice to me.
The MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge Hellcat Grudge Race will be taking place today, August 14, 2021. You can watch the action streamed live on DodgeGarage.