In Conversation with Kenedi Jernigan about becoming a Stock Car Racer
We chatted about her plans for 2022, a scary racing moment, her love for Stock Cars and much more.
Kenedi Jernigan is an up and coming American Stock Car racer, racing in the Front Wheel Drives Stock Class. We caught up recently to chat about how she got into motorsport to begin with, what it's like entering a male dominated sport, why she loves Stock Car racing so much and plenty more. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
We caught up ahead of last weekend's Sardinian X Prix.
What first got you into motorsport?
How I got into racing is not your typical story. It’s actually quite a funny story. I’ve always enjoyed racing but it had never really crossed my mind to race myself. Then, one night at the Owosso Speedway, I watched a 14 year old boy get a feature win and I was astonished! From that moment it was like something clicked! I looked at my Dad and I said “I want to do that”. My Dad just looked at me like with disbelief. He said “I don’t think you would”. To that I said “Bet”!
Before I knew it, we were over at the home of a gentleman who raced at The Owosso Speedway. We were purchasing his front wheel drive! Once we got the car home it finally set it. I’m racing. I was so scared but I was so excited.
For those who don't know, what kind of racing do you do?
I am a short track racer. The style track I race is oval and asphalt. The class I choose to race is called “Front Wheel Drives” which is a stocked class.
Why do you love Stock Car Racing so much?
My reason for loving stock car racing is that it's opened a whole new world for me. Another reason is that it has taught me a lot of life lessons and provided me with life skills. This sport is valuable to me and is a source of my happiness.
How has 2021 gone for you racing wise?
My 2021 season was definitely full of ups and downs. At the beginning of the season my car was at its absolute worst. It was broken and no matter what we tried we just couldn’t get it. Then during a practice it was like a switch went off, the car was hooking like a gem and could run any line it needed to and she was fast for what she’s got - which is a stock 1.9.
Come qualifying, I was a little in my head about a certain girl who likes to bully me and got distracted. With that said I still qualified for the A main! In the heat I started in the second row on the inside. The car was on rails and drove like a dream! I passed two cars for the lead! Then I led most the race. Coming around for the white flag my mom makes the pass. However with pure desire I strategize the perfect line to get around her. I then took my second checkered flag ever and got the heat win!!! I very much needed this win after last years wreck to prove to myself that I am still just as great a driver as I was before! Then the rest of the season the car stayed at its best but it just couldn’t keep up with the 2.4 BVTs. That’s why come the 2022 season I will be moving on from the Saturns and into Cobalts!
I caught up with Vicky Piria to chat W Series, 2022 and much more.
What are your racing plans for next year?
Come the 2022 season, my goal is to get my fastest qualifying time and get a feature win! I would also just like to simply take this season to enjoy and appreciate it because it will be my senior year.
Many don’t realize but to be good at this sport it takes the perfect line, strategy, and skill to hold off those cars that are out there with you, sometimes they’re much faster but with talent you can beat them. I showed myself throughout the 2021 season that I am an impressively good driver and I still have that same fire burning in me that I had before my wreck. I was unable to finish the 2020 season because I was petrified. I walked away with bruises and a hurt back after four cars crashed into me during a race. I was going to give up racing all together but when it came time for the 2021 season I decided I was going to give it another try. The 2021 season was all about gaining my trust with my car and building my skills! I am so grateful for my recovery and talent.
I am now able to be confident in my driving again and no longer blame myself for how awful my season was going. The car was broke but I was starting to think I was just not good anymore but after last night I know I’ve still got it and I am the happiest I’ve been in awhile. Sorry to brag but I’m just proud of myself!
What do you have on your racing bucket list?
My racing bucket list consists of becoming well known, and racing other sportsmen. Eventually I’d even like to reach the highest level of stock car racing.
What has your experience been like as a female racing driver entering a more male dominated sport?
Being a women in a male dominated sport has its advantages and disadvantages. As a women people give me more attention and sponsors pull towards me as a result. However on the other side of things, people expect less from me and give me less respect. But these things never bring me down because I am just happy to be there I don’t care if people look down on me because I know my worth!
If you were reincarnated as an animal based on your personality, what would you come back as?
If I came back as an animal I believe that I’d come back as a dog!
If you had to join the circus, what type of performer would you be?
The kind of performer I’d be is a comedian or the ones that work with the animals.
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What did you think of our chat? Let me know in the comments below.