By Ashley Schindler from The NASCAR Corner
Tell us about yourself, how did you start racing? What series do you currently race in?
My name is Mackena Bell. I was born and raised in Carson City, Nevada and am a third generation race car driver. At just 9 months old, I was at our local race track each weekend supporting my Dad, Kelly, and my Grandpa, Daryl Schaar. At age 12, my Dad and I visited our local race track where an exhibition of dirt karts was taking place. It looked like so much fun that I told my Dad I’d like to give it a try. That night he purchased me a kart of my own and in my dirt kart debut a week later, I finished 2nd in the main event. Needless to say, I guess the rest is history. Moving from dirt to asphalt, karts to Legends and stock cars, I’ve had the great fortune to meet so many amazing people, learn from the best of the best and had the opportunity to run with some of the “up-and-comings” in the K&N Pro Series. In 2011, I will be running in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and look forward to a very successful season.
What’s your favorite part about racing?
The adrenaline, without question! I find great comfort when I am in a race car. The sound of the track, the smell of the racing fuel, just me and the car. There is nowhere else I’d rather be!
What’s the hardest part of racing for you?
Double standards, for sure. I’m certain that it applies to so many different sports, but in a male dominated arena, it can be difficult to be a lady, but hang with the men. With that being said, there is an understanding amongst all of us. It’s always a lot of fun to laugh and joke, but there is also a line, and for the most part they know better than to cross it.
Do you have any favorite/least favorite tracks on the circuit?
The 2010 season allowed me the opportunity to run at some very historic tracks. Although some were more difficult than others to learn, the challenge is what it’s all about. There is something very satisfying about conquering a race track, so for me each of them provides a learning experience. I always look forward to running a track for a second time and putting to use what I learned initially. All of them hold some type of memory and that is what this racing thing is all about.
I know you were accepted into the Drive for Diversity program, how was that experience?
Simply said, AWESOME! The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program together with Revolution Racing has been a wonderful experience for me. Not only has it provided me the opportunity to continue my dream, but to participate in events that some race car drivers will never experience. It has also taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. With six K&N Pro Series races, the filming of “Changing Lanes” and the people that surround me, I feel very blessed. And for that I am thankful.
What do you like to do during the off-season?
I hate the off-season!! It’s like a curse word to a race car driver. The off-season seems like it drags on forever so during that time I keep myself busy with work, hanging with friends, decorating my new apartment and hitting the gym to stay in shape for the upcoming season. But, if the situation presents itself, I get into a race car. During this off season I traveled home and climbed back into a dirt go-kart owned by David Ing. Getting back to my old stompin’ grounds was so much fun and something I hope to do again.
Do you currently have any 2011 plans? If so, what are they?
Revolution Racing just announced the driver line-up for 2011. My plans for the year include running a minimum of 17 races within the NASCAR Whelen All American series. As you might know, I requested to take a step-back from the pro series to rebuild my confidence, learn as much as I can and not just be ready, but be certain, strong and more confident. I am determined to return to the K&N series and when I do, I want to turn some heads. Our family number has always been “11” and with the 2011 season upon us, I feel confident that this is my year to do great things!
Would you be in favor of eventually moving up to Truck/Nationwide/Cup?
As a race car driver, I think the biggest mistake we can make is progressing before being ready. Growing up in the racing industry, there is a certain amount of respect that must be given to those with more experience. You have to respect that, you have to notice it and you have to be willing to work hard to gain it. After my experience in the K&N Series in 2010, I experienced for the first time a lack in self-confidence. I knew that the series was a big jump for me, but what I didn’t realize was that the learning curve would affect me the way that it did. I know what I have to do. I know now how to better deal with that and I have a plan that I’m confident I can achieve. The Truck, Nationwide and Cup series are all a part of the big plan and I’m confident that with continued hard work and dedication I can make it to those levels in the years to come.
Any favorite racing memories?
I have so many favorite racing memories and several of them for different reasons. One that always comes to mind first is a race at TOYOTA Speedway in Irwindale, California in the summer of 2009. My Great Grandpa, Leon Mayfield, was a huge supporter of my racing career. Through all types of weather he would make his way to the racetrack to support me (and my little sister). When he passed away in April of 2009, I received the news at the racetrack. When his 80th birthday fell on a Saturday night a few months later, I announced to the TOYOTA Speedway fans during introductions that I was dedicating my race and any winnings in his memory to my hometown cancer center. That evening I made history becoming the first female to take a podium finish at TOYOTA Speedway. It was incredibly emotional for me and the fans and a night I will not soon forget. He was watching over me and I know that each time I buckle into my racecar he is riding right along side of me. I so miss seeing him in the grandstands.
Do you have any charities that you support?
Now that I’m living in North Carolina I have not yet had the opportunity to do some of the fundraising events that I did back in my hometown. I am a huge supporter of cancer research and together with my little sister, Kellcy (who is a two time dirt Karting Champion), we have hosted the most successful personal coat and toy drive in my hometown. We also enjoy feeding the less fortunate during my trips home at Christmas. I am a firm believer that when you are blessed with many wonderful things in your life that giving back is a must. It’s more rewarding than I ever imagined and seeing those little one’s trying to carry out a 25 pound turkey just makes me grin from ear to ear. It’s an awesome experience!
To learn more about Revolution Racing, please visit www.revolutionracing.net
About Ashley Schindler, owner and editor of The NASCAR Corner : Ashley is a junior in High School in New York. In less than two years, she plans to attend either High Point University or University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and major in Communications or Public Relations. She knows she wants to work for NASCAR, she’s just not sure as what yet. Ashley says: “it’s a tossup between Public Relations Manager and Race Reporter (since I have a tendency to talk a lot!)”. One more thing, her favorite driver of all time is Austin Dillon, who drives the No. 3 Chevy truck for Richard Childress Racing.
Our thanks again to Ashley Schindler who has generously allowed us to reprint her excellent interview with Mackena Bell here on NorCal Car Culture. To follow Ashley on twitter please go to @nascarchick_3 or “Like” her facebook page.