TULSA, Okla. — When Taylor Reimer stepped away from driving race cars in high school to focus on her cheerleading endeavors, she always knew she would return to racing at some point.
Now that time has come.
Reimer will return to the major-league stage in dirt racing next week during the 35th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, Jan. 11-16 inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla.
She’ll drive for Dave Mac Motorsports as part of a seven-car mega squad at the Super Bowl of Midget Racing, racing under the guidance of team owner Dave McIntosh in her Chili Bowl debut.
It’s an opportunity that Reimer, 21, is eager for as she rekindles her passion for motorsports.
“To have the chance to race at the Chili Bowl, one of the biggest events in Oklahoma and really in the country when it comes to dirt racing, I couldn’t be more excited,” said Reimer. “I’ve been away from the sport for a long time but I’ve missed it, and the opportunity to come back now is one I couldn’t pass up.”
Reimer’s roots in racing go back to 50cc go-karts at age 6, and two years later she was winning track championships before making a move from asphalt onto the dirt in her native Oklahoma.
By age 12, she was a track champion at Port City Raceway, and before her decision to step out of the race car Reimer had won every major race there was to win at the eighth-mile dirt bullring in micro sprint competition — including the Spring Fling, Non-Wing Nationals, the Aron Lemmons Firecracker 40, the Labor Day Special and the Pete Frazier Memorial.
Reimer is the winningest female competitor in the history of Port City Raceway, and her competition quickly took notice.
“She beat us during my micro days, a lot,” said 18-year-old Cannon McIntosh, who will drive for rival Toyota team Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports during the Chili Bowl. “We were only in the same class as Taylor for a year, but she was really good. I think she’ll be strong, coming back now like she is.”
The time constraints of both racing and cheering on a full-time basis quickly became apparent, however, and Reimer was left with a difficult decision. Ultimately choosing to pursue cheerleading for several years, she became a two-time nationals winner and multi-time state champion as a cheerleader.
“I had been racing ever since I was a little girl, and also cheering at the same time. So it definitely wasn’t easy balancing that with school for sure,” Reimer recalled. “But after a while I kind of got used to it and I learned what worked best for me. I think a big part of it is that I love what I do and it motivates me and challenges me every day. It’s different ways of pushing me to be the best that I can be, but both racing and cheering have done that for me and are continuing to do that for me again.
“When I was in high school, I had to make a super hard decision if I was going to keep cheering and pursue a degree at OU, or keep racing. At the time, it was in my best interest to go to OU and work toward getting a degree,” Reimer added. “But I always knew that I would eventually race again at some point for sure. There was never a doubt in my mind, even though it was heartbreaking to stop at the time.”
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