Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 110

Kyla Hubbard

Women of Power 2022

CARRYING ON THE FAMILY TRADITION

BY NATE VAN WAGNEN PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS SEARS
HERE ARE photos of Kyla Hubbard sitting in the

T driver ’ s seat of her parents ’ ‘ 85 Monte Carlo in the late 1990s when she was just 2 years old . Twenty years later , Hubbard is still sitting in that car , but now she ’ s making low 4.50-second passes in it as one of the new hitters in Ultra Street competition .

Kyla ’ s father , longtime X275 racer and allaround Texas racing veteran Kenny Hubbard ,

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originally bought the car from his best friend for a hundred bucks and spent four years building it with his wife , Billie , before racing it for six years . The car was parked for several years . In the meantime , Kyla raced Jr . Dragsters until she was 13 , and when she decided she was ready to race a “ big car ” when she was 18 , the Hubbards started rebuilding the Monte Carlo . A few years later , Kyla made her Ultra Street debut in March of 2021 .
“ It ’ s really sentimental for sure ,” says Hubbard , now 22 . “ If you look back at pictures , seeing the difference of what it came from to now , it ’ s crazy . I feel like it fits me perfect .”
Understandably , Hubbard didn ’ t immediately feel comfortable in the ProCharger-boosted , Naiser Racing Engines-powered Monte Carlo , which is outfitted with products from partners like M & M Transmission , Mac-Fab Beadlocks , TBM Brakes , Menscer Motorsports , FuelTech and more . But she ’ s grown more comfortable in the car , all while improving as a driver .
“ My nerves were through the roof ,” Hubbard recalls of her first time driving the Monte Carlo . “ I was very nervous , but now I get in the car and it ’ s like my safe place . Not saying that I don ’ t ever get nervous – I do – but as soon as my car fires up , I ’ m good . It just comes natural . I know where everything is , I don ’ t have to look for it . It ’ s almost become like a natural habit for me . I ’ ve definitely seen the progression in lights . That ’ s been a big thing that we struggled with in the beginning , learning how to hit the tree .”
Quick reaction times are necessary in Ultra Street , where passes in the low 4.50-second range in the eighth mile have become the norm .
“ Going into it , I didn ’ t really know much about Ultra Street only because Dad had never raced it ,” says Hubbard , whose career-best pass is currently a 4.52 . “ I didn ’ t know the competitiveness of the class . Now that I ’ m in it , I love it . It ’ s so competitive and it ’ s growing every year with the
competitiveness . It ’ s definitely a tough class . I like it . I think there are great people in the class . I feel like everyone gets along well . We all have great sportsmanship , so I ’ ve enjoyed it for sure .”
Hubbard has learned from plenty of talented drivers , namely her dad , who ’ s also become one of the most in-demand tuners in the drag radial scene . Kyla knows her way around the car and has her various duties in the pits between rounds and back at the shop between races , but she ’ s fine to leave the tuning up to Kenny .
“ I just let him do his thing and I ’ m the driver ,” she laughs . “ I don ’ t ask questions . It ’ s just a mindset thing . I don ’ t want to know if the car is going to go faster here or may do a wheelie there . I like to just get in and drive it and just trust the car and trust him , which I do 100 %.”
Hubbard is content in Ultra Street , but she ’ d like to someday move to a quicker class like X275 . For now , she ’ ll keep chasing her first win in the car while earning points in the FuelTech Radial Outlaws Racing Series , where Ultra Street is known as Ultimate Street . The series has three races left in its inaugural six-race season , and Hubbard is determined to leave at least one of those as the winner .
“ If you want to do it ,” begins Hubbard , who also works full-time and is pursuing a bachelor ’ s degree in health science , “ you set your mind to it no matter what DI.”
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