Friday, April 12, 2013

A Familiar Track: Taylor Ferns to Race in Inaugural Kokomo Grand Prix

Shelby Township, Mich.— Taylor Ferns has a couple of very fond memories of Kokomo Speedway in Indiana. It’s the track at which she made her first start in a full-sized midget in 2009. A couple of years later in 2011 she was part of a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle for the lead with open wheel legend Dave Darland, which was part of her championship winning season with the USAC D1 Midget Series. Ferns will return to the always racy bullring this weekend for a pair of races.

The inaugural Kokomo Grand Prix is set for Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14 at Kokomo Speedway in Indiana and will be co-sanctioned by the USAC National Midget Series and POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series. The two-night event will serve at the opener for the 2013 USAC National Midget Series Dirt Championship as separate titles will be awarded for the dirt and pavements portion of the schedule this season.

“It’s been a while since we raced a midget back at New Smyrna in February, and I’m ready to get back in the car,” said Ferns. “It may take a few laps in hot laps to feel everything out, as I’ve been in a couple of types of cars this season, including the stock car. It’s my job as a driver to adjust and adapt pretty quickly and hopefully that’s what we’ll do this weekend.”

Ferns raced twice at Kokomo last season in the Motor City Auto Transport Inc. Spike with a Stanton Mopar engine under the hood. She finished eighth in the midget portion of the Kokomo Klash in the fall, against a very strong field of cars, running among the top-five for the majority of the main event. The winningest female driver in USAC history also raced at Kokomo during Indiana Midget Week, where she qualified 12th of the 34 drivers entered in the event. The high school junior, who recently earned the National Honor Society Award for Academic Excellence, finished fifth in the fourth 10-lap heat race, coming up just one spot short of transferring to the 30-lap main event.

“The track crew at Kokomo is usually pretty consistent with the track prep, so we should have a good surface to race on,” she noted. “Racing in the spring, the one thing you do have to look at more than other times of the year is the weather, so hopefully we get good weather and it should be a good race. With it being a POWRi race as well, there will be a lot of cars there.”

The native of Shelby Township, Mich.., raced twice at Kokomo 2011 en route to claiming the USAC D1 Midget Series championship, finishing fourth and eighth in those two starts. In July of that year, she led 17 laps and had the aforementioned spirited battle for the top spot with Darland, eventually finishing fourth.

“At Kokomo, you always have to be on your ‘A-Game,’ because the track is always solid,” Ferns shared. “You have to run the car hard and make sure you hit your marks and get the job done. It’s a track that lends itself very well to midgets and close racing. Having a two-night event is always good, especially at a track like Kokomo.”

This season, the 17-year-old has made a pair of starts on the pavement with the USAC National Midget Series, with those coming at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida in February. She qualified among the top-10 for each of those races and finished 11th in the finale of that two-night event.

Ferns made her debut with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on March 9 at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama, finishing ninth, after opening the event by qualifying fifth. She will make a total of seven ARCA starts this season, with the next coming on May 19 at Toledo Speedway in Ohio. Ferns will also compete in a limited number of races with the USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series in 2013.

“The stock car is definitely a lot different than the midget, but a race car is a race car and having a good run certainly gives me a boost in confidence,” she noted. “Hopefully I can take the momentum from that race and have a solid finish both nights this weekend.”

Taylor Ferns and Ferns Racing would like to thank their valued partners: Motor City Auto Transport Inc., National Auto Placement, FK Rod Ends, K&N Filters, Lansing Sanitary Supply (LSS), Simpson Race Products, Indy Race Parts, ButlerBuilt, Allstar Performance, Stanton Racing Engines and Hoosier Tire Midwest.


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