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Avon's Reese Powers is blazing her own trail on race track

“I get a lot of attention from it. But I think it’s cool just to be out there with a bunch of guys,” -- Reese Powers said.

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Avon's Reese Powers is competing in her third season of auto racing at Wagner Speedway. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

AVON -- In the fall and winter, Reese Powers is busy setting volleyballs and cheerleading on the sidelines.

But in the spring and summer, she’s busy racing against the boys.

Powers, an Avon High School junior, began another season of dirt-track racing on Friday at Wagner Speedway. It’s her third season participating in the male-dominant sport, but she takes pride in that.

“There are a few other girls that are out there with me,” said Powers, who also plays volleyball and is a basketball cheerleader. “I get a lot of attention from it. But I think it’s cool just to be out there with a bunch of guys.”

It also drives her on the track. She’s motivated by the lack of females in the sport and it’s also an opportunity for her to blaze her own trail.

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“I think a lot of people are so amazed I am so young and I am a girl and I am out there driving a car,” Powers, 17, said. “Because I will tell people and they are like, ‘You are not serious are you? You are so brave.’ ”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Powers loves to race. Her father, Dennis, drove stock cars for 10 years and she was a regular at his races. She also grew up around the racing community and later expressed interest in competing.

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Avon's Reese Powers is competing in her third season of auto racing at Wagner Speedway. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

When she showed an interest in racing, Dennis was all for it and has been along for the ride ever since.

“When she first started with her interest she was very young,” Dennis said. “I kind of decided I wasn’t going to race anymore. But I love the racing community and we just decided to be able to be there with the racing community that we would continue on with Reese and give her a shot at it. She’s got the grades and attitude that we decided we would journey on this venture.”

So two years ago, Dennis surprised Reese with her first Hobby Stock car. She called it a “big chunk of metal,” but her racing career was off and running.

Kind of.

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“I had no idea what I was doing,” she recalled about her first race at Wagner Speedway. “They threw me out onto the track and I was clueless.”

But she had the support of family and friends. In addition to Dennis at her side, brothers Clifford and Randall are instrumental in helping along the way.

“Dad does basically everything for me and my brothers are always right there,” Reese said. “They want to be right there and learning what to do and everything. A lot of my family comes out and supports.”

However, initially it was a different story for her mother April.

“At first, mom wasn’t very excited about it,” Reese joked. “But she kind of grew into it. She’s like ‘I am not going. You are making me too nervous.’ Now she’s there every Friday.”

This season, Reese has a new Hobby Stock car and feels confident about capturing her first career feature victory, while she’s also more comfortable than ever behind the wheel.

“I hope the season goes a lot better than last season,” she said. “I am hoping I will get a few feature wins in. I think it’s going to be the year.”

This season, Reese will race regularly at Wagner Speedway. She also plans on making trips to Park Jefferson International Speedway in North Sioux City and New Raceway Park in Jefferson, among other regional tracks.

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