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February 25, 2010

Kelly Williams wants ladies to pay attention to their cars

Emailsizephoto Kelly Williams may never have received as many accolades as Danica Patrick when she was competing, but that doesn't lessen her achievements.

In 1994, Williams became the first female driver to win a race in CASCAR (Canadian Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) history. The victory drew prestigious sponsors like General Motors and Snap-On Tools to her camp, and she made the deals worthwhile by racking up top-10 finishes.

While Williams stepped away from racing in 2003, she still keeps up with the sport as she turns her attention to other interests -- car care clinics for women, writing, public speaking engagements and a role with Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Canada.

How did you first get into racing?
My neighbor used to race cars and my dad worked on his crew. I had been going to the races since I was six-years-old.  One day my dad came home when I was 16 and asked me if I wanted to race.  My neighbor had given us her old driving car to turn into a race car.  It was a 1975 Chevelle and I started in the street stock division. I raced this car for five years before moving into the CASCAR Series.

What's been the greatest achievement of your racing career?
There have been many over the years but the one I am most proud of is that I was the only women to compete for ten consecutive years in the CASCAR Super Series which is now known as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

Are you still racing, or for the most part, have you stepped away from that?
I haven't raced since 2003 but I still keep my finger on the pulse. If the right opportunity were to present itself I would consider racing again.

What first made you start your car care clinics and is that what eventually led you to writing books for women?
I knew there was an opportunity to do clinics and had been thinking about doing it for awhile.  I started out small in 2007 doing only 12.  In 2008 it went up to 60 and in 2009 I did 70 clinics.  I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the women take in the information while having fun.  The book was kind of a separate idea but fits nicely with what I am doing.

6a00d8341c4f3653ef0120a755e0a9970b-800wi Tell us about "Kelly's Garage"?
Kelly's Garage” is an e-book talking about different aspects of vehicle maintenance.  It also includes different driving tips from what to do in a skid to how to set your seat properly.  I am a driving instructor for BMW Canada so the driving tips etc come from this aspect of my career.

What's the most important piece of advice you'd give women about their cars?
"Knowledge is Power."  The reason women feel uncomfortable going into repair shops is that they don't take the time to learn anything about their vehicle; if they understood more than they wouldn't feel so uncomfortable.  For many women it feels like the service advisor/technician is speaking a foreign language.  With my car care clinics I try to demystify many of these things.

Are you planning on writing any other books?
Possibly, I may write a book about my racing career but that won't be anytime soon!


Linda Przygodski
Contributing Writer

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