DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Shelby Orozco hopes to leave her footprint in short track racing. She may make an impact behind the wheel or could someday take over the family business. No matter what she is doing, she is catching the eye of young female racers at Havasu 95 Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Lake Havasu City, AZ.
The young driver started racing bandoleros when she was 13-years-old. “I was a handful!” Orozco recalled. “I really thank my family for sticking around during those first few seasons … It wasn’t easy! When I was 16 my grandpa surprised me with a Late Model, and I was absolutely terrified of it! It took me a full season to get comfortable behind the wheel and to find my groove. I am now 18 years old and in my third season in my Late Model and I love it. I am the only female in the Gene Price Late Model Series that runs between Havasu 95 Speedway and I-10 Speedway and that is something I am very proud of today.”
Her grandfather is Bill Rohzon, Promoter of Havasu 95 Speedway. Which runs their season from September to May in order to avoid their very hot summers. So far in their season, she has a fifth and ninth place finish at her family’s track.
Her growth as a driver has impressed her grandfather. “When we put her in a bandolero, she figured it out overnight,” Rohzon said. “When we put her in a late model, it scared her the first year. But I tell you what, she got comfortable the second year and I am very proud of what she has done, especially so far this season.”
One thing she is proud of is how she has become a role model for other female drivers who compete at Havasu. “When I started racing I was the only girl at my home track, and now there are tons of us!” Orozco exclaimed. “Young girls are always telling me I inspired them to become racers, and I’m glad I was able to instill my love of racing into the hearts of other girls.”
Many would think that racing at a track that your family operates would be easy, but Orozco is treated like the other competitors. “It’s definitely not easy! I’m sure everyone thinks it’s a complete walk in the park but it’s not. My grandpa Bill has made sure my brother and I don’t take advantage or abuse what we have. I don’t have unlimited track time, I don’t get special treatment. If I screw up on the track, I’m getting black-flagged or I’m getting disqualified,” Orozco said. “If I screw up at home I’m getting the car taken away. Sure, we still have to buy my tires and buy my gas and I have those races where I only take a tire or two instead of a complete set, or patch up a hole with duct tape instead of buying new body pieces. Having the track has made me so grateful. I get to be a part of something huge! All of the track employees have become like family, I love being out there. I am so thankful for everything my grandpa and grandma have given me. I truly am blessed.”
With that discipline, she has learned a lot behind the wheel as well. “Patience and respect are the two big ones. As a racer you need to learn when to save your stuff and when to go for it, and that is really one of the hardest things to learn. It’s not always easy being patient, sometimes you just want to ram the guy in front of you to get him out of your way!” Orozco explained. “But that also leads to respect. You can’t hop in a car and expect everyone to respect you and your car and to give you lots of room. My first season in a Late Model, I was so slow that I made sure to stay out of everyone’s way and to give the leaders lots of room. When I came back the second season ready to show them what I could do. The other drivers respected me and knew I would race them clean. It’s a long learning process but it’s something every driver has to go through.”
When she is not behind the wheel, she keeps herself busy. “Outside of the track I am a graphic designer. I started doing web and graphic design in high school and I fell in love with it. Now I’m in charge of all of the design work for Havasu 95 Speedway. My design partner Austin Gabler and I handle our website, we designed it entirely by hand. We created our new logo, and I design all of our famous programs by myself,” Orozco said. “I love being able to combine my love of graphic work with my love of racing. My dream is to one day own my own design shop, Racer’s Edge Design, where I design and print programs, shirts, stickers, websites, everything for racetracks all over the country. I want to one day be a racetrack’s ‘one stop shop!’”
As far as her future goals, it may surprise you. “I’m sure you expect me to say that I want to become a professional race car driver, but that’s not true. Since my family operates Havasu 95 Speedway, not only have I learned how to drive a car I’ve also learned what it takes to open the gates to let that car out on our track,” Orozco explained. “I would love to one day become more prominent in Havasu 95 Speedway, maybe even taking over as promoter many, many years down the road. I have grown to love the business side of racing as much as actually being behind the wheel.”
Fans can learn more about Havasu 95 Speedway by visiting Shelby’s designed website at www.havasu95speedway.com.
To learn more about the ASA Member Tracks and Sanctioned Series in your area, please visit www.asa-racing.com. Follow ASA Racing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/american.speed.assoc and on Twitter at @ASARacing.
You can also look for the nearest ASA Member Track, get the weekend schedule, ASA Series information right on your smartphone by downloading the ASA Racing App for the iPhone and Android phones for free. Just search for ASA Racing on iTunes and the Android Market and get the app today for FREE!
The American Speed Association started as a single racing series in 1968 and is a fast growing racing sanctioning body today. The ASA Member Track program sanctions dirt and asphalt short tracks along with road courses around the United States, as well as a variety of regional and national touring series. For more information call (386) 258-2221, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest news and information from all the racetracks and tours involved in the ASA can be found by visiting www.ASA-Racing.com.
ASA®, ASA Racing®, American Speed Association® are registered trademarks of Racing Speed Associates, LLC.