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LaBelle drag racer secures PDRA Sportsman Rookie of the Year

Victoria Beaner, 12, shares her journey in the fast lane
Posted at 7:26 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 19:26:19-05

LABELLE, Fla. — Victoria Beaner recently clinched the title of Sportsman Rookie of the Year for all classes in the Professional Drag Racing Association (PDRA). Fox 4 visited her family’s shop in LaBelle, where the 12-year-old spends time working on a few of her dragsters, to learn more about her journey to the finish line.

Her family has circle raced for years, but she was still in elementary school when a customer came into her dad’s fabrication shop with a few Jr. dragsters for sale.

Victoria reminisced about the moment her racing journey commenced, stating, “And he was like, Victoria should get into this - he was talking to my dad - and I was six at the time, so I had no clue what they were. And my dad asked me, and I'm like 'Yeah, of course!' I always say this - I was six, I didn't know what it was, and I said yes.”

A split-second decision that would lead to what she says is now her life’s passion. The day after her seventh birthday marked her maiden drive, leading her to fall in love with the sport. A week later, she was already competing.

“This was my very first race and I won, and that was really what sparked my interest. You know, if you got out there for your first race and win, you’re going to be like, “Yeah, this was easy”. Well, it wasn’t easy,” Beaner said while laughing.

Getting her start in the PDRA’s beginner class from 2019 to 2021, Beaner says she’s now moved up to competing in the intermediate class, and it’s quite a commitment - in part because the closest race is 10-hours away.

“Each class has to qualify in order to get into the actual race - and what I mean by qualify is, in the top junior dragster you have to have the best reaction time. Whoever has the best reaction out of 16 cars gets in,” Beaner explained.

Beaner says if you don’t qualify, you could be making the long drive home the next day. So, she says she sharpens her reaction time on a ‘Porta-tree’, a simulation of the light tree at the racetrack, every single day. She adds that her schooling is all done online to free up more time for racing.

Reflecting on her success and the prestigious award, Victoria attributed it to her hard work, saying, “When I walked up on that stage, it actually meant a lot to me because there were so many other people that could have gotten it, and they chose me.”

Looking ahead to the 2024 season, Victoria sets her sights on securing the PDRA Top Jr. Dragster Championship.