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In between racing against adults at speeds nearing 100 mph at Langley Speedway, 14-year-old amateur racecar driver Macy Causey texted with friends, gossiped about boys and joked around.
For Causey, who finished 13th in her first race before getting caught in a wreck five laps into her second, the April 18 race was an average Saturday night in the young speedster’s life.
After becoming the youngest female to compete at Langley Speedway on April 4, Causey returned to the track Saturday for her second race in the Late Model Division.
Saturday’s race featured stiff competition that included track champion Greg Edwards, who has yet to lose at Langley this season, and two-time national champion Lee Pulliam.
Instead of worrying about racing against such talented competitors, Causey remained calm leading up to her first race of the night, spending a good chunk of her time texting with friends and browsing the internet while her four-man pit crew worked on her car.
Causey, who has been around auto garages since she was 5, likes to take a hands-off approach to her car’s maintenance on race day. Despite spending nine years around auto mechanics, the 14-year-old admitted she still has a limited knowledge about the inner workings of her car.
When asked about what sort of adjustments her crew was making to her car, Causey shrugged and joked “Honestly, I have no clue. … I’m only 14. What do you expect?”
Outside of her unique hobby, Causey sees herself as a normal teenager.
Even with two 65-lap races ahead of her, Causey appeared to be interested in talking about anything but racing. Instead of discussing strategy with her crew members, Causey seemed more content to chat about her favorite country music artists, what concerts she had attended and what nail polish she was wearing.
The playful demeanor of the young racer quickly changed as other drivers began making their way to the track. With the help of her crew members, Causey donned her three-layer fire suit and was strapped into her car and prepared to compete against some of the best racers in Virginia.
Causey started the first race of two races in second-to-last place after struggling to adjust to new tires during qualifying. Starting from the back was not a concern for Causey, who is still learning the ropes of the course.
The first race of the night was largely uneventful for Causey, who drove toward the back of the pack until a car crashed into the wall on lap 15, bringing out the caution flag.
The caution allowed Causey to catch back up to the lead pack of drivers on the reset, but she soon found herself falling back of the other drivers.
Holding her own and driving her own race, Causey was eventually lapped by Edwards on lap 44, and again by Pulliam a couple laps later.
Falling a lap down proved to be the toughest challenge for Causey in the first race. While trying to stay focused on the course, Causey had to be mindful of the front runners who were looking to pass her on the straightaways.
By the time Edwards crossed the line with the checkered flag waving, Causey was a full lap down and in 13th place.
Undeterred by being overtaken on the track by other drivers, Causey kept the whole experience in perspective and stayed focused on the positives.
“I’m just trying to get some seat time and learn what everybody else is doing to make sure I’m not learning the wrong things,” she said after the first race. “I don’t feel overwhelmed. They’re leaders and they’re coming by me. I’m not going to stop them from being in front. I’m going to try to get behind them and do what they do.”
Causey’s attitude on and off the track reflects the three rules her father, Rette, instilled in her at a young age: Respect yourself, respect safety and respect others. Causey always keeps those rules in mind when she races, which is why she purposefully held back on the track and did not push her car to its limits.
Saying she did not want to ruin anybody else’s day on the track, Causey estimated she pushed the car to its max for roughly a quarter of the race. For safety and respect reasons, Causey does not want to push herself or her car too hard before she feels she is ready.
“I’m not pushing it to its full potential because I don’t want to cause a wreck,” she said. “I’m definitely still pushing myself. When I push myself to a 10 on a scale of one to 10, I want to see how the car reacts.”
Causey’s second race of the night was much shorter and much more eventful than her first.
Once again starting toward the back of the pack, Causey slammed into a car that had spun out in front of her during the first turn of lap five.
The three-car collision brought out the caution flag as tow trucks rushed to the scene of the crash.
Unscathed during the wreck, Causey described the feeling of being in a crash as an “oh, crap” moment.
“At the same time, you don’t want to panic too much, because there’s really nothing you can do at that point,” Causey said while standing near the wreckage. “We’ll try to get it next time.”
For someone so young, Causey chose not to linger on the crash, saying she looked forward to the next opportunity to race.
As Causey’s pit crew tried to salvage her car and get her back into the race, Causey took a seat in a pink lawn chair to watch the rest of the race.
With her second full day of racing in the books, Causey reflected on improvements from the first time she raced at Langley.
“I’m getting through the turns a little bit better,” she said. “Coming off the turns, I’m still struggling a little bit. The turns, I’m getting used on how to enter and how to exit. Eventually we’ll get it. We’re slowly getting better and better.”