Newton, Ia. – According to an old wise tail, every little girl wants to grow up and be a princess. Fast-forward to the present and you have little girls who want to grow up and become a trailblazing NASCAR racer.
Kenzie Ruston, driver of the No. 4 Rev Racing Toyota, is a prime example of this fact.
Her interest in racing was peaked after accompanying her grandfather to local dirt tracks where he competed weekly.
“I kinda’ grew up around racing. My grandpa raced dirt tracks in the Oklahoma City area and that’s how I would spend my summer nights. I just feel in love with it. I always wanted to race but never knew what direction I wanted to go,” Ruston shared.
Upon attending a NASCAR sanctioned event at Texas Motor Speedway, she and her father decided to rent a Bandolero for $50.00 and run 20 laps. “We kinda’ did that and I feel in love with it. It was a family fun thing at first and we got to bond. Growing up with the competitive spirit I have and playing every sport, I was trying to do the best at it. I took it very serious when I first started because it was something that I wanted to make into my career.”
At the age of 14, Ruston began her career competing in Bandolero cars and just one year later was crowned Spring Nationals champion at Texas Motor Speedway. She also finished fourth in national points.
Defining and Challenging Moment(s)
Despite what career path you chose, there are always defining and challenging moments which you will experience. What have been some of those moments for the 23-year-old?
“I think the most defining moment would be to just go out there and race. Being a female in a male dominated sport and being able to compete week in and week out after so many people told me that girls would never make it in this sport, win championships or win races and stuff like that,” she explained.
“I feel that what I strive for every day is to prove all those critics wrong and I guess I’m just as good or maybe even better than some of the guys. Being a female it has definitely been difficult and challenging but you just have to keep your head up. When somebody tells me I can’t do it, it gives me more fight to try and prove them wrong,” Ruston continued.
Drive For Diversity Program
The El Reno, OK native was selected to participate in the 2015 Drive For Diversity Program. Some of the drivers that have gone through this program and found success climbing the NASCAR ranks include @KyleLarsonRacin, @dnlsuarez (Daniel Suarez) and @BubbaWallace (Darrell Wallace Jr.) – just to name a few.
“Being a part of this program is just really phenomenal. You don’t normally get the opportunity to try out for a team and race for free. I think it’s really cool that Max Siegel, Rev Racing and NASCAR combined together to put this Drive For Diversity team together. It gives people an opportunity to race and try to bring diversity into NASCAR,” she said.
“I really want to get my first win. My best finish in K&N history is second and I feel that being teamed up with Rev Racing this year is the perfect opportunity to win a race.”
With every dream and goal, there is an ultimate accomplishment in mind. Kenzie Ruston shares what she feels would be the greatest career achievement for her. “I would call it success if I can win at every level – NASCAR K&N, Camping World Truck, XFINITY and Sprint Cup. I feel that would be a huge success because no woman has ever won at any of those four levels.
“I feel that if I can win at every level and am able to show people that girls do win here. It would be an example for young girls coming up behind me, paving the way for women and show them that we belong here,” Ruston concluded.
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