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Ashe County teen's life is no drag

Originally published: Jan. 31, 2013
Last modified: Jan. 31, 2013

Jesse Campbell

Hannah Blevins makes boys chase her. 


A Jefferson resident, 16-year-old Blevins is a junior at Ashe County High School and revs up as a rising star in male-dominated drag racing circuits throughout the southeast. 


Blevins has notched four drag racing championships and 100 wins since strapping in for the first time at age 8.


She developed a taste for speed while frequenting tracks with her father, Tim Blevins.


“I’ve raised her since she was born and that’s where we’ve always been: the racetrack,” said Tim Blevins. 


While watching other kids compete in the junior dragster divisions, which is geared for aspiring racers for ages 8-18, Hannah knew she belonged behind the wheel.


“I saw the other kids do it and I wanted to try it,” she said.


While her time as a junior racer has presented her with ample opportunities for making lasting bonds with the other racers, Hannah is there to win.


“I told her that if she wants to race, we aren’t there to socialize,” said Tim Blevins. “We are there to win.”


Blevins record speaks for itself. With four titles to her name, she is earning at strips throughout the Carolinas where racing has long reined king. 


She is not easily intimidated, either. While there may be only one female racer for every five male drivers, Hannah does not let the pressure of any race or situation bog her down. 


“It has never intimidated me,” said Hannah. “It is a male-dominate sport, but every time I beat a guy, it shows a girl can do just as much as they can.”


Racing comprises a large part of Hannah’s life. A typical season on the circuit can last from anywhere from 36-40 weeks, with the majority of races taking place on the weekend.


Tim Blevins estimates they spend up to 15,000 miles a year on the road travelling to and from races that take them as far away as Maryland. 


But for Hannah, the reward is worth the commitment. 


“Each time I go (to the track), I’m inspired to win each race,” said Hannah. “You can’t win everyone of them, so I keep going back trying to win as much as I can.”

Hannah was 12 when she earned her first win, at the strip in Wilkesboro.


“The only thing that I remember about it is that I beat a kid named Taylor South,” said the precocious youngster. 


When she is not competing, Hannah also spends quite a bit of time practicing for her next big heat, as well as the next phase of her career.


Now that she has reached the required age, Hannah is preparing to make the move to the hot rod circuits. 


In just three and a half weeks, Hannah will get behind the wheel of a 1968 Chevelle at the Rockingham speedway. 


“It’s going to be a big transition,” said Tim. “She will be going from a single cylinder engine to a high horse powered car with a heavy engine. In a hot rod, you go a lot faster and the car leaves quicker and a lot harder than the junior (dragster) would.”


Hannah said she is determined to make the transition and she wants to turn racing into a fulltime career. 


Considering her winnings in recent years in the form of savings bonds, Hannah may stand a good chance to do just that. 


“That’s what I’m trying to get her to realize,” said Tim. “Hannah makes more on a weekly basis than these kids working at McDonald’s. She can race. She can do this without having to slave away.”


Hannah’s passion has not waned either.


“I love it,” she said. “I’m happy doing it and I want to continue to do that.”

 
For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.