Dillon Motor Speedway keeps Poland coming back for more

Dillon Motor Speedway keeps Poland coming back for more

The impact that female drivers have at big race tracks is obvious but sometimes the affect on smaller tracks, and young women like 16 year old Jessica Poland, has a bigger presence within the sport of auto racing.

"All together I believe I've been racing seven years," said Jessica Poland. "I first started out on lawnmowers back on the dirt track at home and got kind of tired of that. I moved up to go-carts. Then, everything kind of went to asphalt from there. This year is my first year in a full sized car."

So as a former racer, what's the first thing Jessica's dad said when his nine year old daughter told him she's got the itch to get behind the wheel?

"Let's go racing!," said David Poland, Jessica's dad and Crew Chief. "We've been involved in racing for some time now, I used to race go-carts back in the day and she came to me and wanted to race and I figured we'd give it a try."

The Poland's have been making the trek from Ellerbe, North Carolina to Dillon for the last four years and this year, she finally makes the move up to the Charger class.

"It's a lot different than everything else I've ever run," said Jessica. "The adrenaline is just unreal; you just focus in on so much more stuff."

Though, David admits that sometimes serving as both father and crew chief can be a bit of a roller coaster.

"First and foremost is safety and if she's doing good there is a pride factor involved," said David. "I'm glad to see her doing good but there have been a few times that she's been involved in some pretty bad accidents and the parent side kicks in. You're really concerned about how they're doing and you make sure she's ok."

And while she may have suffered a few bumps and bruises along the way, Jessica is undeterred and feels proudest when she's strapped into the three car.

"That's what I always ran and that's what my daddy always pulled for, my grandpa, everybody, so I just figured I'd choose three."

Jessica plans on attending UNC-Charlotte to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.

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