Hillary says she is "done" with professional
drag racing and that maybe in 10 or 15 years,
she'll think about it.
Direct access to
See also the January, 2006 issue of Car
and Driver ,
'Girl power' fuels
NHRA - 6/23/06
Diversity in drag
Dote Racing replaces
Hillary Will for remainder of 2012
Larry Dixon Replaces Hillary
Will Who Says Shes Done with
Racing Fans Reaction
(not found) or eMail
DOB: April 1, 1980
Marital Status: Single
Height/weight: 5´4´´, 110
Hobbies: Running and kickboxing.
Occupation: Racecar Driver
Former Gymnast and Collegiate Springboard
Hometown: Fortuna, CA
Career Best ET: 3.799
Career Best Speed: 328.78
Hobbies: Running and kickboxing
Notable: Raced to first national event
victory at Las Vegas 1 in 2005 in Top Alcohol
Dragster; Was runner-up at two other national
events in TAD, including the prestigious Mac Tools
U.S. Nationals; Earned Top Fuel license in August
2005 with time of 4.67 seconds at 321 mph; 2004
graduate of Frank Hawley NHRA Drag Racing School;
Former gymnast and collegiate springboard diver;
Graduated from Wheaton (Mass.) College in 2002
(Magna Cum Laude) with a degree in Economics
Hillary Will finished the 2008 campaign in 4th with
2,405 points. She finished13th in 2007 with 703
points and 10th in 2006 with 1035 points.
* * *
NHRA Top Fuel star Hillary Will claimed the
inaugural Scott Kalitta Memorial Trophy by winning
the Shannons U.S.A. v. Australia Top Fuel Showdown
at Western Sydney Intl Dragway in Sydney,
Australia, Sunday. Her team, led by crew chief Jim
Oberhofer, posted the quickest lap of the event in
the final round to defeat Aussie Terry Sainty,
4.743 to 5.284.
* * *
Hillary Will finished the 2007 campaign in 13th
with 703 points. She finished 10th in 2006 with
* * *
Hillary Will joins Melanie Troxel in the
NHRA Top Fuel drag category. She
qualified 5th both at her first Top Fuel race in
Pomona, CA and at the Summitracing.com Nationals in
Las Vegas on April 7, 2006. She will be back in
action next week in Bristol, TN. Will was runner-up
to Kalitta teammate at Memphis
Larry Dixon Replaces Hillary
Will Who Says Shes Done with
Racing Fans Reaction
Hillary Will, the only female Top Fuel driver
currently in NHRA Full Throttle drag racing, is
being replaced in the Dote Racing dragster with
veteran Larry Dixon. Dixon will drive in the three
remaining slated races that the Dotes are preparing
to enter this year - which are Charlotte, St. Louis
32 year old Hillary Will has been piloting Top
Fuelers on-and-off since 2006 (first driving for
Ken Black & Kalitta Motorsports) - the
Californian's career best was fourth-place in the
point standings for the 2008 season. It should be
noted that although she hasn't won an event in NHRA
Top Fuel, Will has won events in Top Alcohol as
well as Top Fuel in IHRA. She's considered the
fastest woman in the world when she went 335 mph
during the 2008 season. Will is the fiance of
three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt
Will qualified the Dote Top Fueler for all seven
meets they've attended and won three rounds which
has helped put her 14th in the point standings.
With Dixon taking over the ride, he becomes the
fourth driver in the Dote's Top Fueler in just the
last two years of part-time racing.
Hillary "done" with "cutthroat" sport
Being replaced by the former champion shocked
her, but that didn't seem to bother Will too much
saying of Dixon: "I have to say, I am a fan of
Larry and always have been." But she does appear
bothered by the sport and will be taking some
indefinite time off from drag racing ... maybe
In fact, she stated last night to John Kernan of
Rpm2Night that she was "done" with professional
drag racing and that maybe in 10 or 15 years,
she'll think about it; but, because in part the
sport is so "cutthroat", she will pursue a job
relating to her economics degree.
Source - Racer sports.yahoo.com/news/larry-dixon-replaces-hillary-says-she-done-racing-012300718--irl.html
Dote Racing replaces
Hillary Will for remainder of 2012 season
Hillary Will, driver of the Dote Racing NHRA top
fuel dragster received surprising and unwelcomed
news after her first round exit from the
rain-delayed US Nationals.
Her Dote Racing owners announced suddenly that
3-time world champion Larry Dixon will take over
driver duties in the familys top fuel
dragster at three of the remaining NHRA Full
Throttle events this season, effective immediately
with his first scheduled appearance at the upcoming
5th Annual OReilly Auto Part NHRA Nationals
in Charlotte, NCs zMAX Dragway.
The decision came as a complete surprise to
Will, who was blindsided by the news Sunday after
she was eliminated from the race. In an interview
a seemingly frustrated Hillary stated that she is
taking a step back from racing, reflecting that she
wasnt cut-throat enough for the
sport, and that she was done with professional
racing to pursue other avenues.
The emotion can clearly be heard in Will's voice
during the interview, in which she chooses not to
discuss the details behind her release on Sunday,
only to describe the day as an "odd day". Hillary
does state that she has respect for Dixon and
understands the Dotes decision..
'Girl power' fuels
Hillary Will knows what her father could have said
when she asked to tag along to the race track:
"You're just a girl. Stay home and play with your
But never once did that phrase - or anything
similar - escape his lips. He took her along,
answered all of her questions and, when she turned
16, allowed her to drive his 1973 Dodge challenger
every day to school.
"He brought me up to think I could do anything I
wanted," Will said. "I wasn't limited because I was
Will, 25, could have done without the car; she
preferred to keep a low profile, which was
impossible in a souped-up car painted "crazy plum
purple." But the extra attention she and her car
got helped prepare her for her current high-profile
role - part of a group of women excelling in drag
Shirley Muldowney, the first Top Fuel driver to
win three NHRA titles, performed the crucial role
of breaking the gender barrier 30 years ago. Now, a
generation later, more women are following her path
to the top of the drag racing world.
Headed into this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Midwest
National at Gateway International Raceway, Melanie
Troxel, 33, is leading the Top Fuel points. Angelle
Sampey, 35, a three-time champion who has won more
races than any other woman in NHRA history, is
leading the pro stock motorcycle points. Earlier
this season, Erica Enders, 22, became the first
woman to qualify first in the pro stocks, a
division that has attracted fewer women.
But the truest sign of progress is that those
women aren't exceptions; they're simply the best of
a growing field. Will is also running Top Fuel (for
a team affiliated with Muldowney), and Karen
Stoffer has occasionally cracked the top five in
pro stock motorcycle. Even better, the NHRA's
junior dragster program is now 30 percent
"The numbers increasing in junior definitely
lead to more women in sportsman and professional,"
said Enders, whose 37 junior dragster titles
attracted the attention of Disney, which made a
movie about her life called "Right on Track." "I
think it's awesome. I love it. I think we need more
girls out here."
All of the women take pride in signing
autographs for young girls at the track and
speaking at schools. But they balance their pride
in breaking barriers and being role models with a
desire to be, well, just one of the guys.
They don't want to be known solely as woman
drivers. They want to be known as drivers,
preferably champion ones.
After all, they came to the sport just as most
male drivers did. Will's dad encouraged her to
race. Enders hung out in the garage with her
father, sorting nuts and bolts while he worked
until she read a notice for a junior program and
begged to participate.
Troxel, too, got swept along as her father
competed and her mother worked on his car. No one
told her she couldn't change a spark plug because
she wasn't a boy. No one suggested enrolling in
auto shop classes wasn't ladylike.
"The standing joke is that she didn't know girls
weren't supposed to do that," said Barb Troxel,
Melanie's mother. "She'd come home and I'd have the
toaster tore apart because it wasn't working."
Sampey started competing in motocross when she
was 6. She was the only girl at the competitions,
but that never mattered. The boys accepted her, and
she never thought her gender would be an issue when
she moved on to drag racing. There, she discovered
that despite Muldowney's precedent, she wasn't
welcomed with open arms.
"It was a weird thing," she said. "There never
were any girls in pro stock bikes before, and it's
supposed to be such a macho sport, the motorcycles
going 196 mph, that you've got to be a big, strong
man to do this. Then a girl came along and did it,
and I guess they thought I made it look like not a
big deal anymore."
Drag racing has been friendlier to women than
other motor sports. Muldowney's success, of course,
has played an important role. But that's not the
whole story. Troxel and Sampey both drive for owner
Don Schumacher, who attributes some of women's
success to the competition's format.
"I believe it's really because of the physical
side of it," he said. "There isn't the 500-mile or
the 300-mile physical aspects that there is in most
of the other sports. This is four and a half
seconds, five seconds. Yes, there's physical
exertion on you, and it's difficult at times, but
it isn't near what goes on at the NASCAR ranks and
the other series."
Troxel recently has wondered whether the nature
of competition - drag racers are racing against the
clock more than against one another - plays into it
"It's very rare that anything you do has a
serious effect on the guy in the other lane," she
said. "Aside from someone not wanting you there and
having words to say, there's not really much they
can do about it. They can't bump into you or make
you spin out."
For the competitors, the reasons don't really
matter. Like their male counterparts, they are
focused on getting everything they can out of their
cars, preparing themselves mentally and physically,
and making sure their sponsors get maximum
"I'm proud to be a woman driver," Will said. "I
can't deny it. I market that, and I have Girl Power
on my car because a lot of females can relate to
that. It's pretty cool that I can market that in
our sport. Because everybody knows that once you go
to the starting line, it doesn't matter anymore.
We're just racers."
Source: Lori Shontz,
Over 320 mph in less than 4.6 seconds.
In their first full season in Top Alcohol
Dragster, Girl Power Racing finsihed sixth in the
nation and third in the Pacific Northwest division.
This includes one national and one divisional event
win. They also scored runner-up finishes at The Big
Go in Indy, the Winternationals, and the Woodburn
Hillary Will, (25), a native of Fortuna, Calif.,
has been chosen to drive the new Ken Black-owned,
Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster that
will compete on the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing
Will, 25, currently drives the Girl Power Racing
Top Alcohol dragster in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing
Series. She claimed her first NHRA national event
victory at Las Vegas in April and recently
collected her first Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series
win at Mission (B.C.) Raceway. She completed the
NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in the Top
Alcohol Dragster category in 2005, finishing second
in Division 6 (Northwest) and six overall in
national rankings. She began racing at age 17 and
has competed in Super Street, Super Gas and Super
Even though she has yet to take a trip down the
quarter-mile in a Top Fueler, Hillary Will has
gained quite a fan base. She is one of the top
drivers in the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks and has
shown the talent and determination to make it as a
professional driver. And if she can handle the
transition from alcohol to nitro quickly, the world
could be on the brink of seeing the next big
"There aren't enough words to describe how
grateful I am that Mr. Black and Mr. Kalitta have
given me this opportunity to fulfill my dreams,"
Will said. "I decided that I wanted to make drag
racing my lifelong career. I left my job as a
financial analyst and went for it. I was hoping
that I would get a chance like this eventually, but
to get it now and with a championship-caliber team
"I spent the past weekend in Brainerd (Minn.) at
the Team Kalitta pit area, and I can already tell
that it's a place where I want to be. I like the
atmosphere there. They are a successful, winning
team and at the same time, everyone enjoys being
there and enjoys being part of Team Kalitta."
Will, a graduate of Wheaton College (Mass.),
clocked her career-best pass in July when she
recorded a 5.302-second, 270.97-mph pass. Her 7,000
horsepower, nitromethane Kalitta Motorsports Top
Fuel ride can traverse the 1,320-foot drag strip in
less than 4.5 seconds at over 330 mph. She
recognizes that there will be a learning curve and
adjustment period, but she also knows she has
talented a pool of drivers and tuners in her
"Everyone has made me feel very welcome," Will
said. "Jim Oberhofer (team manager), Scott Kalitta,
Doug Kalitta, Dave Grubnic, and Ben Marshall
(marketing manager and test driver) have been more
than willing to explain things and answer my
questions about Top Fuel racing.
"I have a lot to learn in making the transition
from Top Alcohol to Top Fuel, but I can't think of
a better place to learn than Kalitta Motorsports.
I've been driving Top Alcohol under the tutelage of
Bucky Austin for more than a year now. I'm
fortunate to have learned so much from him. I will
be forever grateful for how he has helped me."
Black, who resides in Las Vegas, where he built
a very successful construction business, is highly
optimistic about Will's abilities both on and away
from the racetrack.
"We had a long list of talented drivers to
choose from," Black said. "I want to thank all of
them for their interest in driving for our new
team. We weighed all the options and decided that
Hillary (Will) is the best fit for what we
ultimately want to accomplish, and that's to win a
Top Fuel championship.
"Not only has she proven herself to be a very
skillful driver at many different levels, she has
also shown us that her intelligence and charisma
will be invaluable for our team as we move forward
with our marketing goals.
"Shirley Muldowney (Zantrex-3 team and sponsor
relations representative) was the best female
driver this sport has ever seen. She was one of the
best, regardless of gender, to ever sit in the
driver's seat of a Top Fuel dragster. My hope is
that Hillary's career will mirror Shirley's
terrific accomplishments as a champion."
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta
Motorsports is the only full-time three-car Top
Fuel drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod
Association) POWERade Drag Racing Series. The
racing operation was started in 1959 by now
legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the
Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. His son Scott Kalitta
drives the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster. Scott's
cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the
flagship dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian
David Grubnic drives the third dragster under the
banner of Zantrex-3.
Connie serves as crew chief for all three Team
Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs
Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer
(Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster), Jon Oberhofer
(Zantrex-3 dragster) and consultant Larry
Associate sponsors on all three race cars
include Red Line Oil, Summit Racing Equipment,
Technicoat Companies and Fischer Honda.
Kalitta Motorsports, 1010 James L. Hart Parkway
,Ypsilanti, MI 48197 or 734.544.7000 or Fax
734.544.7006 or Hillary Will E-Mail
2008: Earned her first career victory at
Topeka, becoming the 11th female to win a pro race
in NHRA history; Also posted runner-up finishes at
her home track in Sonoma and in Richmond during the
playoffs; Finished a career-best fourth in the Full
Throttle Series point standings; Became fastest
female in NHRA history with speed of 334.65 mph
speed at Pomona 1
2007: Earned a semifinal finish in
2006: Advanced to first career final
round at Memphis; Nominated for Auto Club Road to
the Future award; Finished third overall in Full
Throttle Pit Crew Championship, which recognizes
the most consistent performing teams in the NHRA
POWERade Drag Racing Series; Raced to semifinal
finishes at Englishtown and Sonoma; Clocked
career-best performances for time and speed;
Qualified for all 23 POWERade Series races
2005: Became the sixth female in NHRA
history to qualify #1 in TAD.
Won first national event in just five starts at Las
Vegas Motor Speedway.
Won first divisional event at Mission Raceway Park
in British Columbia.
Ran career best 321 mph in 4.67 seconds.
Earned NHRA Top Fuel Dragster License
2004: Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing
Top Alcohol Dragster (TAD) Debut
2003: First & only female to drive 3
Different Race Cars in the NHRA and finish in the
2002: Wheaton College Graduate (Magna Cum
Diversity in drag
Take a look at the National Hot Rod Association
standings, and see what's there.
Antron Brown is first in the Pro Stock
Motorcycles, and teammate Angelle Sampey is
third. Melanie Troxel is fourth in Top Fuel
standings. J.R. Todd is 10th in Top Fuel but has
three victories, including last Sunday at Reading,
Tony Pedregon (fourth) and Cruz Pedregon (10th)
compete in Funny Cars, Hillary Will is ninth
in Top Fuel, and Karen Stoffer is fifth in
Pro Stock Motorcycles after a victory at
That's what those drivers want you to see when
some of them come to Virginia Motorsports Park
tomorrow. Not their sex or their skin color.
"Right now, it's a big deal because I'm an
African-American," Todd said. "If I weren't, I
don't think they'd be making as big a deal as they
"I've been on CNN and SportsCenter and USA Today
because I'm African-American. Eventually, it's
going to slow down, and it will just be, 'Hey, J.R.
won another race.' That will come with time when
you get more minorities involved."
The NHRA will bring its show to Dinwiddie this
weekend for the Torco Racing Fuel Nationals. What
fans will see is while other racing series may give
lip service to diversity, it's a base principle at
the top level of drag racing.
The participants know it's a story. They're
constantly going to cities they see only once a
year, and there will be new interviews and more
talk about them. But they don't want it to end
"I think that's an important next step in the
progression of women in motorsports," Troxel said.
"It's natural for it to be noteworthy, but it makes
it kind of a novelty, like 'Oh, look, there's a
woman.' But when that's all there is, people get
tired of it."
Troxel and Sampey participate in the Hostess
Race Divas program, appearing on calendars and
snack packaging along with the Indy Racing League's
Troxel said she agreed to the program because
she knew it would bring attention to herself, her
team and her sponsor.
It wasn't as easy for Sampey.
"I had to have people tell me that I needed to
use that to my advantage. That's why I hate it more
than anybody else," Sampey said. "People are having
trouble finding sponsorships, and it's not fair for
me to say, 'Sponsor me because I'm a girl.'"
"In my mind and in my heart, I'm just a racer.
When the helmet goes on, you can't see the faces.
We want you to give us attention because we're
They've definitely earned that right. While
Sampey and Brown won't be competing at the Torco
event -- it's a weekend off for the Pro Stock
Motorcycle class -- they've combined for five wins,
including the first four events of the year.
Brown, an African-American, and Sampey, a woman,
are shining examples of how diversity isn't a dirty
word for the NHRA.
They've both worked their way to the top ranks
of the motorcycle class, and Brown said that gives
the NHRA an advantage over NASCAR or most other
forms of racing.
In comparison, NASCAR's top three series offer
only two women (Erin Crocker and Kelly Sutton), one
Hispanic (Aric Almirola) and one black man (Bill
Lester), none in the top 10 in points. The NHRA
also offers a diverse group of fans.
"With the NHRA, there's a lot more entry-level
racing for minorities," Brown said. "NASCAR, they
have [the Automobile Racing Club of
America] and all that other stuff, but you
still have to be rich. NHRA, you can go to the drag
strip and race anything from your mom's station
wagon to dirt bikes. You just have to come out
there and drag race with it. That's the advantage
For Todd, who is just 24, it's a time of new
role models and new chances to shine.
"There's still a lack of women and minorities
out here, but we need to see more of them," Todd
said. "By me picking up the win this year, the
first African-American to win in a nitro category,
that opens up the door for more minorities. It
shows it can be done."
* * *
Source: Jill Irwin,
©1996-2019 by Gordon