Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 118

Alex Taylor

Women of Power 2022

CAN ’ T STOP , WON ’ T STOP

BY NATE VAN WAGNEN PHOTOGRAPHS BY COLE REYNOLDS
LEX TAYLOR has been working towards a meaningful career in the auto-

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motive world , even before she knew what that might include . What started as following around her father , Dennis , in the family ’ s hot rod shop as a toddler has grown into a multi-faceted career that spans not just drag racing , but car culture as a whole .
“ I literally have grown up in the shop since I was a couple weeks old ,” says Taylor , now 24 . “ The whole ‘ in your blood ’ thing sounds so cliché , but I honestly didn ’ t realize there was a life where you don ’ t wake up and think about cars , talk about cars , work on cars , drive cars . That was normal for me . I did not realize until the last four years that that ’ s not necessarily normal .”
Taylor has become a fixture in the drag-and-drive world , where she made her debut at just 16 years old

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driving her “ Badmaro ” ’ 68 Camaro . She recently debuted her latest project , a twin-turbo ’ 55 Chevy that she built with her dad . She knows the car inside and out , which comes into play as she ’ s racing down the track , cruising down the interstate at 80 MPH , or working with Holley

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EFI ’ s Ryan Witte on the tuning side . As she progresses in the sport , she insists on continually learning and being as involved as possible on the mechanical end .
“ I remember following along anybody that let me follow along in the shop ,” Taylor says , looking back on her earliest days running around at Hot Rods by Dennis Taylor . “ Maybe they ’ d let me put a washer on a bolt . I just wanted to do something . I ’ ve always loved being hands on , very inquisitive . I want to know how it works and why it works , not just hop in it and drive . I just love to learn about it .”
Taylor ’ s expertise was evident on Sick Week , Tom Bailey ’ s new drag-and-drive event in Florida and South Georgia in early February . Taylor could be found reviewing data on her laptop between passes , or getting the car switched over from the track setup to the street setup . She ’ s also the one who knows exactly how everything gets packed back up into the support trailer that ’ s
towed behind the ’ 55 Chevy . There ’ s not much Taylor can ’ t do , and that ’ s the way she likes it .
“ I can ’ t stand to sit with my hands tied ,” she says . “ For example , yesterday , Ryan , who ’ s helping me tune , he had to fly out , so I ’ ve stayed right in the middle of tuning even though he ’ s more than capable of doing it because I don ’ t ever want to be in a situation where I can ’ t do something because I don ’ t have somebody here . I don ’ t want to have to rely on that . I ’ m super hands on .”
Taylor ’ s independence and wide range of skills are points of pride for Dennis . Sick Week was one of the few times he ’ s been in the car with Alex as her co-pilot , filling in for his wife , Debbie , who has traditionally served as Alex ’ s co-pilot
during drag-and-drive events . Riding along gave Dennis a first-hand look at just how much Alex has learned under his tutelage over the years .
“ She ’ s actually the one looking at the data and talking about why the valve tuliped and all that ,” Dennis says on Day 4 of Sick Week . “ She ’ s very smart . For me as a father , it ’ s like how do you get better than that ? It ’ s been fun . She ’ s driven the car exclusively . I moved it one day here . I had to move it since she wasn ’ t around . I ’ ve never started the car or driven the car . And I ’ m OK with that . I think of it as her car , and we just do this together .”
The drag-and-drive crowd has known Alex for several years now , but she ’ s developed a broader audience through her popular vlogs on YouTube , as well as appearances on numerous different automotive shows . She was also recently named the new co-host of MotorTrend ’ s HOT ROD Garage for the show ’ s 10th season . On the competition side , she ’ s also branched out as the new driver of Jeff Miller ’ s “ Bumblebee ” Camaro in Radial vs . the World competition .
The result is a huge fanbase , one that continues to grow by leaps and bounds . She ’ s particularly popular with young fans who watch her YouTube videos or follow her updates on social media .
“ People are starting to look up to her ,” Dennis says . “ I ’ m really proud of her , of course , on all of her accomplishments , but the fact that people come up to her and say she inspires them , that gives you goosebumps . Especially when the little kids come up and they want to meet her because they admire her . It ’ s really something , and I ’ m very , very , very proud .”
Taylor ’ s life continues to be anything but normal . Her schedule has her jet-setting all over the country on a weekly basis , from HOT ROD Garage filming in California to Radial Racing Series races in the Southeast to drag-and-drive events in the Midwest .
“ People tell me all the time , if you ’ re going to do this lifestyle , you ’ re going to give up a lot . You ’ re going to give up a lot of friends , a lot of family ,” Alex begins . “ Friends , maybe . At home anyways . But I see all my friends at the track and my family is here with me . It ’ s pretty neat because it ’ s no different for me . If I go home , I ’ m with the same people as I am at the track .”
In fact , Sick Week was like a family vacation for the Taylors , as Alex was joined by her parents , her sister , Megan , and Megan ’ s boyfriend , and even the family dog , Meka . It ’ s a tightknit group and everyone plays a role , from helping with the car to selling T-shirts and filming content for the YouTube channel .
“ It ’ s awesome because they ’ re people I can trust , they ’ re in my corner , and I don ’ t have to direct ,” Alex says . “ Me and my dad work together so much that we kind of have our flow and have our pattern . It just simplifies stuff . It ’ s pretty great DI.”
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