After a successful campaign last year in the K&N Pro Series West, Julia Landauer will return to the series once again in 2017. It was announced earlier this month she had signed with Bob Bruncati’s Sunrise Ford Racing Team for the 2017 season.
“I’m really excited,” she told POPULAR SPEED. “I’m really looking forward to taking everything I learned last year and going back this year and having that confidence if you will. Just looking forward to going out there, winning races and going for the championship.”
With the successful year she had in 2016, she is entering this year confidently, expecting to reach victory lane while contending for the championship.
“That’s what the primary focus is,” she added. “To go from winning a championship in 2015 to not in 2016 is not what I wanted to do, so that’s what I’m hoping to do.”
With the diversity of the schedule, Landauer says the pair of the tracks she’s most looking forward to returning to this year are both tracks in which she scored poor finishes in 2016.
“I’m most looking forward to redeeming myself at Sonoma,” she said. “It was the race that I was most looking forward to last year, and it ended up being my worst race of the season. So definitely looking forward to redeeming myself there, and definitely looking forward to going to Iowa. I really like that track, but we had a lot of problems there, so hopefully looking to do better at that race.”
Last season, Landauer put together an impressive campaign for Billy McAnally Racing, scoring seven top-fives and 13 top-10s en route to finishing fourth in the Pro Series West Standings. Notably, it marked the highest finish for a female driver in the NASCAR development series.
“I’m really proud of myself,” she said. “To come in as a rookie with races with so much longer than what I had ever raced before, and with a car that was quite much more power than I had in 2015, I’m really happy. We had some obstacles that we had to overcome as a team, and we put our heads together and did that. I’m glad to have finished pretty well for a rookie, and obviously to make it to fourth place to be the highest female finisher ever. That was all really good, and great to be racing in a televised series and become more involved in NASCAR.”
Looking back on the year, she notes the biggest thing she learned was equipment conservation, in saving the tires and not burning up the brakes throughout the event.
For Landauer, she was able to get her start in racing at a young age, beginning in go-karts at the age of 10.
“My family got me and my sibling into go-karts so we could do something as a family on weekends, and my sister and I could compete against the boys,” she said.
She was able to have success, steadily making her way up the racing ladder en route to making history in 2015. That season, she won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Limited Late Model Division Championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia. She was the first female to earn a title in the track’s history. Looking back on her career, she admits her most memorable moment has to be the first win during that championship campaign.
Through her move up the ranks, she has been doing things her way, finding ways to get her name out there, including public speaking. She was recognized for her efforts as Forbes named her to their Sports 30 under 30 list.
“It was quite an honor to be named to the Forbes Sports 30 under 30 list,” she said. “It shows that the different approach that I am taking to racing, in that really I’m working on everything from the branding to the team building and to be from New York, be different and show that it’s making a splash – that’s really cool. It also adds a boost of confidence in knowing all the hours that have gone into my career over the past six years has been recognized. I’m really privileged to be part of that list.”
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