Saturday, July 13, 2024

Revving Up the Future: How a 20-Year-Old Poquoson Woman is Changing the Face of Racing

Mackenzie Holloway, stock cart 41, wants to inspire young girls to get into racing. (John Bechtel photography)

POQUOSON — Mackenzie Holloway remembers her first four-wheeler — one ride on a dirt drag strip and she never looked back. Now she races at Hampton’s Langley Speedway on Saturday nights in the Hampton Roads Kart Club (HRKC) Pro Wing Champ Karts division.

She recalls her first race at Langley.

“It was a little nerve-racking. As a rookie, you have to start in the back of the field, so I really had to battle my way to the front. I had to keep a calm head and really work my way up,” Holloway said.

After graduating from Poquoson High School in 2021, Holloway got a job at Legasea Marine. When she arrives home, she heads out on her kart to work on her passion.

“Racing is a job in and of itself. You have to work your 8-5 and then you still have to be out there practicing. The workload of racing really doesn’t matter when it’s something that you love to do,” Holloway said.

Much of the world of racing is male-dominated. Holloway hopes she can show the world that racing is just as much for girls as it is for boys.

“Male, female, it doesn’t really matter. You really just have to enjoy it and put in the work. I think a lot of girls think that it is a male sport and they don’t necessarily think they can do it, but I would tell any girl out there that they can go out there and do just as good if not better than any male out there,” Holloway said.

For Holloway, the camaraderie at Langley was exactly what she had hoped for.

“The racing community, we’re so tight. It’s a great group of people to where if you need a hand, if you need a part, if you need anything at all, you can pretty much walk into anybody’s trailer and everybody’s willing to help out in whatever way they can,” Holloway said.

Mackenzie Holloway is one of four female racers at Langley Speedway’s Saturday night races. (The Holloway Family)

In 2023, Holloway was named Rookie of the Year by the Hampton Roads Kart Club.

“It was such a great accomplishment to cap off my first year at Langley. It was really a moment of, ‘hey guys, look I made it.’ I got to go on stage in front of all the other drivers and my family and friends and really celebrate,” Holloway said.

Just 20, Holloway finds it surreal that she has a major fanbase at Langley Speedway.

“After the race, when I go up to the stands to see my family, there are kids walking up to me that realize I’m a driver. I love just seeing the smile on the kids faces and I try to talk to them and their parents and encourage them to join HRKC,” Holloway said.

So far this season, Holloway sits in fourth place in the overall standings. She has 103 points, and hopes to find herself in contention for the championship at the end of the racing season in October.

Holloway knows that she has little girls who look to her for inspiration and urges them to believe in themselves, never taking “no” for an answer.

“Don’t ever let anybody stop you. If you want to go out and you want to race, don’t let anybody tell you that it’s a male sport or that you can’t do it, don’t let anybody hold you back. If you want to do it, you’re going to find a way and you’re going to find the drive and you are going to be able to go out there and do whatever you want to accomplish,” Holloway said.

Racing at Langley Speedway continues through the summer with special events planned throughout the season. For more information on the Hampton Roads Kart Club, visit hrkc.com.

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