Women of Power 2022
FINDS HER NITRO FAMILY
BY RYAN MURRAY PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOE MCHUGH
HRYSTAL SHIVELEY never expected to be as involved as she is in drag racing , but the sport has a unique ability to do that with people .
For Shiveley , her involvement was completely unexpected , even if she ’ s known fan-favorite Top Fuel driver for more than 20 years . The two began dating around five years ago , with Shiveley slowly becoming more and more involved .
She attended her first race in 2018 – which just happened to be Palmer ’ s first Top Fuel final round – and she ’ s become hooked , while adding job responsibilities for Palmer ’ s team seemingly by the day .
“ These people out here are family to me now . Having that family out here means the world to me ,” Shiveley says . “ I didn ’ t think I would ever be this involved , but as time went on , it just kind of happened .”
Shiveley worked as a paralegal when she started dating Palmer . He invited her to a race
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and things went from there , as Shiveley slowly became integrated with the team .
She ’ s now an integral part of the Scott Palmer Racing operation , handling everything from logistics to travel to social media to PR work . If a job needs done , Shiveley is usually the one to embrace it .
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“ I do a little bit of everything ,” Shiveley confirms . “ A lot of people don ’ t really realize what all it takes to make everything work behind the scenes . But I don ’ t want to work on the car . I like being behind the scenes .”
While it ’ s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience , Shiveley initially had some doubts , especially while raising three children .
But she and Palmer have made it worked and thrived , much of it due to Shiveley ’ s impressive work ethic and drive to see the team succeed in every area .
“ That first year was a little tough , but after that we got the hang of it ,” Shiveley says . “ Now , I absolutely love it and I wouldn ’ t change one thing about it . I think I would be lost if I wasn ’ t out here .”
Shiveley ’ s now referred to as “ Mom ” by most of the team , a nod to just how well she takes care of everyone . That includes new team members and a new driver when Alex Laughlin came on board to drive last year .
But that relationship has been stellar , and Palmer has found a great balance in the process . Laughlin is normally the one driving these days , but Palmer did race in Virginia in mid-May at the Virginia NHRA Nationals , which was also a thrill for Shiveley to see again .
“ Alex and his team , they ’ re amazing and so awesome to work with ,” Shiveley says . “ I just love every bit of it . There ’ s nothing not to love . I loved seeing Scott in the car in Virginia . That was almost like a sigh of relief for me because it ’ s been so long since he ’ s been in the car , but that was so much fun . Everything about this has just been great DI.”
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116 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 176
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