Lady Lynx--The Fastest Girl at Pikes Peak
25 June 1999
- Sara Senske is one of auto racing's fastest-rising female drivers, and runs for Lynx Racing, a championship-winning driver development program owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. - Lynx Racing alumni include CART FedEx drivers Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley. - The Star Mazda Series in which Senske competes is the first step on the 'ladder' that leads to the upper levels of auto racing. She also drove in the inaugural race of the all-new Women's Global GT Series. - Senske qualified on the front row of the Star Mazda race here last year, and finished third. She is currently sixth in the 1999 championship points battle. ____________________________________ Most auto racing stories are about men... but not this one. Sara Senske, 20, of Kennewick, Washington, won her first race at age 8 and is now one of the fastest-rising stars in auto racing where she drives for Lynx Racing, a championship-winning team owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. She will be competing this weekend in the Star Formula Mazda support race at the Radisson 200 IRL event at Pike's Peak International Raceway, June 26 - 27. She is currently sixth in the 1999 championship points battle, and, at this event last year, qualified on the front row and finished third in the Star Mazda race at Pike's Peak International Raceway last year. "Racing in front of all the IRL teams here is a great opportunity for a driver on the way up," says Senske. "Of course you have to do well, and with the help of my sponsors at Lynx Racing and the championship-winning crew at S3 Racing who prepare my car, I have all the tools to go for a win here. We've worked hard in testing, and I've worked hard on my physical training program to get ready for the altitude, and now it's time to go out a show what we can do." Lynx Racing's mission is to seek out young drivers with the potential to make it to the top of the sport, and provide them with the resources, funding and training to realize that potential. Past graduates of the Lynx Racing program include Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley, all of whom now drive in the CART FedEx Championship. The Star Mazda Series utilizes single-seat, open-wheel 'formula' cars that are similar, though smaller and less powerful, to those that run in the CART or the IRL. Their place in the big picture of racing might best be described in baseball terms -- if CART and IRL are the major leagues, driving in the Star Mazda Series is the high school varsity team. The next step up is college varsity, the U.S. F2000 series, followed by the triple-A KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. Lynx Racing has affiliated teams at each level, and Senske is being groomed to rise through the ranks, with the ultimate goal of becoming the first female driver to win an Indy-car race and championship. "We chose Sara not because she's female, but because we saw in her that special something that we've come to recognize as championship potential," says Lynx Racing co-owner Peggy Haas. "We've always wanted a woman driver on the team, but we weren't willing to sign someone for that reason alone. Lynx drivers have to be capable of taking the opportunity and knowledge we give them and rising to the top levels of the sport, and Sara has that quality." When not behind the wheel of her racing car, Senske is a student who pursues her interests in communications and sports marketing at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. Her hobbies include ice skating, rollerblading, skiing, biking, writing poetry and listening to contemporary Christian, jazz and classical music. She counts the Bible as the greatest influence on her life, and Indy 500 driver Lyn St. James as her 'racing hero.' Her favorite TV show is "I Love Lucy," her favorite food is Thai and the thing about her that would surprise people is that she can juggle. If she couldn't be a racing driver, she'd like to be on the Olympic Women's Hockey Team. Senske is one of two Lynx Racing 'road scholars,' who benefit from a fully-funded program. The other Lynx driver is Buddy Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona, who drives in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series. He was the first rookie in the series' 25-year history to put his car on the pole in his first Atlantic race... and then won his second race, on the Nazareth oval, also from the pole. Rice is currently second in the 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship points battle with podium finishes in the last two races. Rice's teammate on the Lynx Atlantic team is Mike Conte, a 30 year-old computer wizard who, while working for MicroSoft, was involved in the development of several of their most popular software programs. Conte also competes in sports car racing, and scored a podium finish in this year's 12 Hours of Sebring driving a Porsche entered under his Contemporary Motorsports banner.