Drag Illustrated Issue 179, November / December 2022 - Page 124

KELSEY AND KAITLIN QUARTUCCIO

■ RACING IS all the Quartuccio sisters know . There was never a “ before-racing ” period of time that Kelsey and Kaitlin remember . Their earliest memories are those of being at the track , in the grandstands with their mom and watching their talented drag racer of a dad and Drag IllustrateD ’ s 2021 Outlaw Racer of the Year , Ken , break records and win races .
It only made sense for Kelsey , 28 , and Kaitlin , 23 , to get involved in motorsports because of their upbringing . From drag racing to dirt bikes and even road racing , the Quartuccio sisters were exposed to many forms of motorsports . However , each sister blazed their own path in the industry .
Kaitlin followed closely in her father ’ s footsteps – just like she did as a child . “ When I was born , it was just a given that we were going to be raised at the racetrack ,” Kaitlin explains . “ Wherever [ Dad ] was , I wanted to be .” She followed her dad even through high school because Kaitlin ’ s want to be with her parents and around racing outweighed the typical high school routine .
Then after Kaitlin turned 16 , Ken let her get in a race car . “ I knew my entire life that I wanted to be like my dad . I always thought my dad was the coolest person in the world ,” she explains . “ I waited till I was about 16 , and then I asked my dad ; I said , ‘ If I work hard enough for you , can I try driving ?’”
After trying out a few different cars , including her dad ’ s Outlaw 632 ’ 69 Camaro , Kaitlin purchased a ’ 63 Nova close to home that she , her dad and a group of close friends turned into a race car . However , things went differently than planned when she finally got behind the wheel .
“ We got an LSX454R , and the first time I drove it , I blew it up ,” Kaitlin says . “ Then we had to re-figure everything and what I was going to do . Then we found a new motor , and I raced in three different classes . I ’ m still trying to figure out where I belong , but as soon as PDRA came out with something that I could fit in , I knew that I had to be part of PDRA .”
Kelsey , on the other hand , chose a different path . She went to college and graduated with a communications and marketing degree and knew she wanted to be in motorsports . Kelsey first got her start working in the luxury car scene . However , she felt the tug to get back to her drag racing roots .
“ I know the drag racing community . I know the scene , and I know the industry very well ,” Kelsey thought to herself while reevaluating her career . “ It makes the most sense for me to apply what I know technically into a space that I really just adore .”
Now , Kelsey is a senior digital marketing specialist at FloRacing , joining the company at the beginning of 2022 . “ It ’ s super important to me to look at roles or jobs in my life where I know I can make an impact that is fulfilling to me ,” she says . “ I knew there was a space where I could make an impact .”
Drag racing as a participant might not be in Kelsey ’ s future , but that doesn ’ t mean she hasn ’ t thought about getting behind the wheel . “ I don ’ t think I would ever do what my sister and my father do , but I definitely have an interest in doing the Drag-n-Drive stuff ,” she says .
She ’ ll leave the racing up to Kaitlin and her ventures into Super Street with the PDRA . However , Kelsey does enjoy going to the track , whether it ’ s for work or to watch her dad or sister race . Kaitlin , on the contrary , says , “ I ’ m definitely prioritizing PDRA next year .” She feels like she ’ s found a home after her trying racing career .
Another initiative that Kaitlin is passionate about is bringing awareness and supporting drivers in motorsports that suffer from anxiety and getting back into a car after a crash .
“ The first time I drove a race car at a racetrack , I ended up crashing , and I was horrified ,” Kaitlin says , because she felt like she let everyone around her down . “ I was horrified to get back in a car because crashing a race car is really scary .”
When she felt ready to get back into the car , Kaitlin felt a sense of freedom from fear and anxiety driving down the track . Her experience led her and her mother , Denise , to create “ Freedom From Fear Racing ” with encouragement from her family .
“ The goal is to encourage men , women , and kids in all types of racing to face their fears and not let anxiety stop them from doing what they love . To get back up when you fall , to keep going when you feel like you can ’ t ,” Kaitlin confesses . “ I ’ ve crashed race cars and dirt bikes and felt too scared to do it again , but I knew how much I loved the freedom driving gives me , so I keep chasing the feeling .” – KAYLA ZADEL DI
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