Kirstin Simmons made history in 2016 when she became the first female to capture a Hornets Division race at South Boston Speedway. She’s hoping for a historic 2018 season at South Boston.
Simmons, an 18-year-old senior at Park View High School in South Hill, will be taking the jump up to the Limited Sportsman Division when the 2018 season opens March 24 with the Danville Toyota Twin 100s.
“We’re going to race the entire Limited season at South Boston, and then maybe branch out to some other tracks after the season is finished,” said Simmons, who captured the Budweiser Hornets Division season-opener in 2016.
Simmons is itching to get back on track. She sat on the sidelines for most of 2017 as her team worked to build a brand new Limited Sportsman car.
“It was very difficult,” Simmons said of the 2017 season. “I wanted to race so bad. I couldn’t wait to get back.”
Just when she thought her new Limited car was ready to roll in 2017, there was another delay.
“We got it ready and then I wrecked it in practice. It was the first real practice I had in it and I just got a little loose.”
She did get to try out her new wheels as the 2017 South Boston season wound down. She actually made her Limited debut in the next-to-last race of 2017 and then was back in the field for the final event of the year. The results weren’t too shabby for a rookie in the series: a fourth and a sixth.
“I thought that was a pretty good start for us in Limited,” Simmons said.
Family is at the heart of Simmons’ racing endeavors. Her mom and dad, Sammy and Kim Simmons and older sister Kaitlinn are her biggest backers. “My mom and dad are so supportive,” said Simmons.
Kaitlinn used to be one of her biggest competitors in the Hornets Division, but she has stepped back from racing. Later this year she will complete her degree work to become a registered dental hygienist.
Simmons knows that without the support of family and many others her racing career would be in the rear-view mirror.
“I have to thank my parents for all they have done for me,” said Simmons. “Also, my crew chief Ken Hodges for all his hard work and dedication and Mike Pearce for his help and Beth Farrar-Clay with Organized Marketing for her help.
“I’m lucky to have had two people like Joey Connor and Danny Willis that have been around racing for so long helping me and there are so many others.”
Simmons has lofty goals for 2018 but also looks at the upcoming season realistically.
“I’d like to win the championship if I could, but I want to finish races and start making a name for myself,” said Simmons, who has sponsor support from JMS Volvo, Newmart Builders, and Discount Furniture. “I need seat time to get the feel of a Limited. This is a big step. But I’m very excited. I can’t wait for March 24th to get here.”
Saturday afternoon, March 24th is when racing returns to South Boston Speedway with the Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model Twin 100s featuring twin 100-lap races for Late Models, a 50-lap race for the Limited Sportsman Division, a 30-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stocks and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets.