By ISABELLA SIMMONDS
For the Republic-Times
Quinn Ahrens, an 11-year-old go-kart racer, is advancing in her career as she moves from local competitions to the regional and national levels.
So far this season, Quinn has competed in many races including three Cup Kart North America races and two local races in the Gateway Kartplex Supercomp Series, which she both won.
“My WKA (World Karting Association) race in Indiana was my favorite, where I got my first national win,” said Quinn, the daughter of Patrick and Tracy Ahrens of Waterloo.
Cup Kart North America, or CKNA, is a national level go-kart competition that provides an opportunity for racers to compete in a four-cycle series.
CKNA, which has recently grown in popularity around the Midwest, was formerly known as the Briggs & Stratton 206 Cup Series.
Quinn, who is now in the Cadet class, drives a Nitro Kart with a Briggs & Stratton 206 engine. Her father explained that her kart can travel up to 60 miles per hour.
“I love the speed, but there are still some times where I get scared,” Quinn said. “Most times I’m not.”
It is clear that Quinn is no stranger to branching out of her comfort zone. A few years ago, when she was in her junior karting class, she was often the youngest and one of only a few girls competing.
“There are other girls in the races, but most of the time there are only one to two,” Quinn explained. “It can be a little challenging to be one of the only girls.”
Patrick Ahrens added he was excited for Quinn’s future in racing.
Her parents recently purchased her a Mazda Miata car that she will hopefully be able to race competitively after she turns 13 and takes the appropriate action to get licenses and approval. Her parents hope to see her racing in the NASA Spec Miata Developmental League in the next few years.
“The Mighty Quinn,” as she is now known as, had to have a little convincing before she first stepped out onto the track at the young age of 5.
“We had tried to convince her to try go-kart racing at Gateway, but at first did not want to, said Patrick. “ Finally, she came to me and agreed,” When she took the helmet off after, there was a big smile on her face.”
Quinn and her family have always been huge fans of NASCAR, which is what led them to go-kart racing. It has become a large bonding experience for Quinn and Patrick.
“I love traveling with her, and any time she is competing on track it is always exciting,” Patrick said. “It’s a very proud moment, and I’m excited for her. She puts a lot of work into the racing, and we practice a lot.”
With about 20 triumphs already under her belt, Quinn is set on winning many more races in the future.