Kate Dallenbach had received a piece of racing advice from her mom, former driver Robin McCall Dallenbach, that she’d taken to heart.
“If you go down into the corner and you have the line, you own that piece of pavement. If they come down on you, you don’t lift.”
Mom’s point was that to earn respect, every race driver has to establish a willingness to crash rather than back down. The only problem was that on this particular night a couple of years ago at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, Kate was racing her brother, Jake.
“He started first and I started third, so I was right behind him,” Kate, now 19, recalled. “It wasn’t very long into the race when I went to pass him. And, well, and my story is that he didn’t give me any room and turned into me. We got together and wrecked each other and ended up in the wall at the same time.”
The siblings wound up parked in front of where their parents were standing. Embarrassed and nervous.
“I was so mad,” Robin remembered. “Wally was mad. I was like, ‘Why?’ And Kate goes, ‘I did what you always told me to do. I owned that piece of pavement.’ I said, ‘but that’s your brother!’ ”
With not one but two parents who were successful race drivers, a grandfather who’s practically an icon of Indy car racing and older brothers who are drawn to speed, Kate Dallenbach wasn’t going to end up chasing an office job.
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