Behind The Wheel with Gillian Kirkpatrick.
Gillian Kirkpatrick is a talented 14-years-old Bandolero race car driver from Washingtonville, NY who I met when she came to “boot camp” with Marketing At Full Speed with Annamarie Maliftana-Strawhand, where I am an assistant coach. When I first met Gillian, I knew she was something special, as she had a lot of drive and knowledge of the sport and I knew I wanted to interview her to let other people learn about who she is and what her dreams were.
Gillian started racing in 2013, making her debut in the beginners’ Bandoleros division at her home track Bethel Motor Speedway (Bethel, NY). After roughly 10 races, she quickly adapted, just in time for the “Firecracker Madness.” The weekend of the Firecracker Madness, she clearly dominated with nothing but checkers on her mind, taking control of the wheel and wheeling herself to Victory lane, not only once, but three times She was given the opportunity to be the first racer in the beginners division to move up to the regular Bandolero division. As well as racing at Bethel Motor Speedway, Gillian also competed at Waterford Speedway (Waterford, CT), Concord Speedway (Concord,NC) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (Charlotte, NC).
Along with being a full-time race car driver, Gillian has spent the past two years being her father’s crew chief for his asphalt Modified and Legend car. This led to a handful of wins for his Modified. Now, we are working towards a win in the Legend car as well. Without a doubt, this girl not only has the knowledge of how to set up a race car to go around the track, but also, she knows how to set up a winning car for herself and her father. No wonder she was able to adapt and sweep the Firecracker Madness after just about ten times of being behind the wheel of her Bandorelo!
AL: First off, tell the readers a little bit about yourself, like who you are and what you like to do.
GK: My name’s Gillian Kirkpatrick. I’m 15 years old and I live in Washingtonville, NY. Of course, I love to race my Bandolero and work on it with my dad and his Legend car. Along with racing, I love to run, play tennis, listen to music, and hangout with my friends and family.
AL: What got you started in racing?
GK: My father has raced all of his life. So in 2012, he decided to build an Asphalt Modified. I lied about my age to get into our home track, since I was underage, and every week to be his crew chief. I took such an interest in all the cars, I caught the “racing bug” and as they say, “the rest is history.”
AL: What is your most memorable achievement in racing?
GK: My most memorable achievement in racing would have to be leading my dad to 2nd place in the Modified points at Bethel Motor Speedway in 2012. Although, in my personal racing career, it would have to be my first win in the Beginner Bandolero division.
AL: What is your favorite thing about racing?
GK: That’s a tough one, as I love everything about racing! The butterflies you get strapping in and waiting on the line, creating so many new friendships and relationships, the support system you create for yourself, being able to spend so much time with my dad, the challenge of working on your car to make it faster or to run better in certain places on track, the competition, etc. There’s too many things to name!
AL: What do you look forward to the most in the 2014 season?
GK: I’m really looking forward to coming back this season much better than I was last season with a car that I completely overhauled. I can’t wait to travel more and really take the time to focus on making a name for myself that people will remember.
AL: What are your goals for 2014?
GK: My goals for this year are a top-three in points at my home track, the NYS Bandolero Outlaw Championship, and my first win in the Outlaw division at my home track.
AL: What makes YOU stand out from other racers?
GK: I think the thing that makes me stand out the most is the fact that I’m not just about driving my car every week. I personally feel it is very important to work on your own car and really know what you’re driving so you can understand how to make adjustments and fix it when necessary.
AL: What is your Ultimate goal in racing?
GK: My ultimate goal in racing is to make my way up to NASCAR Sprint Cup. Whether it be as a driver, team owner, or the 1st female crew chief.
AL: What are your plans to achieve your ultimate goal? What does it take for Gillian to get there?
GK: My plans to achieve this ultimate goal is to go to college down south and get a degree in engineering. As well as continuing racing myself, making connections with people, and showing everyone that I am willing to do just about anything to achieve this goal.
AL:Do you represent a charity? If so, What is it? And what do you do? And how can others get involved?
GK: I recently sent out a proposal to represent the Young Racers Program at Bethel Motor Speedway. This charity is working towards creating a youth racing program at the track. It provides kids with the passion for racing, the funds and facility to race. If I do get this partnership, I will be able to educate, promote, raise funding, and officially represent this charity. Along with hopefully, working with these kids and helping them reach their goals. Others can get involved by making donations that will go to safety equipment, transportation, accommodations, race fuel, safety classes/instructions, entry fees/registrations, and youth enrichment program.
AL: Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans, friends and family here on The Podium Finish?
GK: I’d to thank my fans, friends, and family for always supporting me in any and all of my endeavors. As well as never giving up on me and always believing in me. Also, I currently have a giveaway going on my Facebook page, if we can get the page to 500 likes by Sunday, I will be giving out autographed pictures to three random people that have liked my page.
AL: How can the readers connect with you?
GK: Readers can connect with me on all of my social media.
AL: Do you have a website, Facebook page, twitter?
GK: Facebook page: Gillian Kirkpatrick Racing https://www.facebook.com/GillianKirkpatrickRacing?ref=hl
I am currently working on getting my website up and running, but I will make updates on FB and Twitter letting everyone when my website is done!
AL: Who is your favorite driver? Male/Female
GK: My favorite driver is my dad, Wayne Kirkpatrick. My favorite NASCAR driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr.
AL: Who is your pick to win this weekend in Vegas?
GK: My pick to win in Vegas is Dale Jr!
Gillian has a great future ahead of her self in motorsports as well as life as well! She was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society with all A’s! Very smart young lady, with tons of potential. I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Gillian throughout this interview, she will be featured Saturday Night on The Podium Finish Radio Show, So be sure to listen in to what this up and coming racer from New York! We are very excited to have her on the show.
You can get connected with her through her facebook fan page www.facebook.com/GillianKirkpatrickRacing
As well as her Twitter: @GillianK_25
She has alot of great opportunities coming her way with her racing, hope you get connected with her and follower her throughout her career.
She makes her 2014 debut in her Bando on April 12th, 2014 at Bethel Motor Speedway. Join us at TPF by wishing her “Good Luck” on April 12 as well as the rest of her season!