Bakersfield is known as a racing town and of course is the starting point for big names like Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears. But while every driver has their own unique story, Shannon McQueen's is one worth hearing.
The Bakersfield native started racing at the age of six because "there was nothing else that I really wanted to do."
Known in school as "that girl who raced", the Stockdale grad continued her unique path while working at a tax firm while getting her degree at CSUB. "She's different," said her father Duane McQueen. "She's a CPA that's a mechanic."
Working now as an audit manager at Daniells Phillips Vaughan & Bock, free time for racing can be hard to find. Especially this time of year. "We're super busy with the filing deadline on Tuesday," she said.
While weekdays are spent crunching numbers, on the weekends she's trying to drop times. After interacting with fans at races all across the country, she says there's only two types of race fans. "They either come to watch the girl do well or watch the girl fail."
For a lot of her career it's been the former including the night she became the first female to win a US Auto Club (USAC) Western Midget feature. "We won on July 7, 2007 for car 7," she said. "I think all the stars must have aligned that night."
Since then she's committed to break through as the first female winning in 2011 a Bay City Racing Association championship and in 2012 a USAC Western title. "It's pretty cool because no one can ever take that away from you," she said. "They'll look at the history books later and my name's always going to be there."
Always going to be there is as accurate a statement when describing her record as it is her biggest fan. "I couldn't do it without my dad and I don't want to," she said fighting back tears.
Working on all three of her cars in his southwest Bakersfield home, Duane McQueen can't believe how it all worked out. "I kind of put it as, I have a closer relationship with my daughter than most men have with their sons," he said.
Shannon plans on racing as long as she can stay competitive something she doesn't see stopping anytime soon. And with her dad by her side every step of the way, the McQueen's already feel like royalty. "It's a cool deal," Duane said of their racing partnership. "It's a really cool deal."
The McQueens say they're losing money racing and that this is more of a "passion project." Shannon once crunched all of her expenses and found that she's have to finish at least top five in every race just to break even.
You can catch her USAC season opener this weekend at the Bakersfield Speedway with the race starting at 6:00 PM.
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