Could Shea Holbrook be the First Female to Win a Pirelli World Challenge Championship??
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Shea Holbrook will make history when she races this weekend. Currently second in the TCA championship, just 36 points behind point’s leader Jason Wolf; if she wins, she will be the first woman to win the Pirelli World Challenge Championship.
When Shea Holbrook hit the track at the SCCA World Challenge Pro Racing in 2010, she was one of the youngest female drivers in World Challenge history, finishing sixth in the series as a rookie driver.
Shea got a taste for racing after a turn at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Despite having numerous state, regional, and national titles water skiing -- she hung up her professional skis and got behind the wheel. Starting in 2008, Holbrook ran the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) ITS Class, she has also participated in Formula and Automobile Racing Association (FARA) MP Classes and in National Auto Sports Association (NASA).
Since her impressive debut, Shea has been an amazing presence representing women in the racing and automotive industry, becoming a successful racer and longtime friend to AskPatty since we first interviewed her at the start of her career. She’s been a featured athlete on Yahoo.com, Teen Vogue, NBC Sports Motor Sports Talk, CNN Live, Racer.com, and many others.
In 2011, Shea earned her place in the record books when she became the first woman to ever win a Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car at the Long Beach Grand Prix. “I remember like it was yesterday, the raw emotion and excitement of our first major win. This time though it’s different. Clinching the championship would represent everything we’ve worked for over the past several years. It’s a priceless reward and the ultimate goal,” Shea says.
Shea received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Marketing from the University of Central Florida in May of 2012 while competing a full season of racing. She also donates effort to raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
We’re touching base with Shea as she prepares for another chance to make history this weekend.
AskPatty: How did you first get into racing?
Shea Holbrook: My first experience in a race car was a ride along at Daytona with the Richard Petty Experience. That same weekend my father was going for his Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) license. I remember approaching my dad at one point before a session on the track saying: “So, what exactly are you doing getting your race license when we don’t have a race car?”
He said, “Well, I don’t know, what do you think about it?” He knew exactly what I would say. “I WANT TO DO IT!”
AP: Racing became a family hobby that day, but it evolved into a full-time career. Tell us what you have accomplished since then?
SH: Since then I’ve raced everything from sprint races to 25 hour endures, a bit of experience in a few open-wheel cars and late-model oval track racing. In 2012, I became a part of the TrueCar Women Empowered Racing team which gave us the ability to start running full seasons with the Pirelli World Challenge Championships. Last season, I partnered with my dad, Jeff Holbrook to become co-owner of Shea Racing and branched into a multi-car effort. Nothing has been more humbling than owning, operating, and driving on my own team. Together, we strive to be better every day, every race. As a family-owned team, we’ve been through thick and thin and I wouldn’t
have it any other way.
AP: As a woman in the industry what have been some of the greatest obstacles you have had to overcome? What are some of your favorite successes?
SH: Being a female driver is awesome! It makes me different! Although, people tend to watch you more which can be a both a good and bad thing. I do feel like I have to work ten times harder because I am “the girl.” I grew up a little tomboyish so playing with the boys was natural to me. Fortunately, I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin and honestly that’s what important in this industry as a female.
Along the way, I’ve been the recipient of the Lyn St. James Foundation Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Scholarship and the Women’s Sports Foundation ‘Women in the Winners Circle’ Project Podium Grant.
AP: Tell us about your efforts with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?
SH: It’s been a wonderful opportunity to use my racing career to raise awareness and thousands of dollars for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy through my charity of choice, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMDs). I’m passionate about Duchenne (one of the 40+ dystrophies but it’s unfortunately a fatal one and living past 21 is very rare) because it affects my family. Matthew (1989-2008) and Jordan are my cousins who have the disease.
You don’t have to be at Miller Motorsport Park in Toole, Utah, this weekend (September 12 – 13, 2014) to watch Shea win. The championship weekend kicks off Thursday, September 11th for the Promoter Test Day. Official Practice starts on Friday at 9:10-9:40AM, Qualifying at 11:50-12:35PM and Race 1 at 3:10-4:10PM. Saturday closes out the championship with an 8:00-8:30AM Warmup and Race 2 at 9:10-9:55AM. Her races will be live streamed at www.world-challengetv.com. Or if you can’t watch it in real time, NBC Sports Network will broadcast her rounds on September 28th at 2:30 p.m. eastern.