Gracie Trotter is on the move. Gracie began her racing career driving go-karts at age nine. Now it’s her seventh year of racing, and she’s driving toward the top. Gracie has picked up support from Toyota’s Driver Development program, and is moving up to Super Late Model racing. She’ll compete full-time in the PASS and CARS Tour Series, in her TRD/Calico Coatings Toyota Camry. She’s also continuing to stay sharp racing Legends cars for Joe Ryan Race Cars in her traditional #11.
As a third-generation racer, Gracie was at the track from the time she could walk. “I’ve always loved the feeling of racing. I love the competition and spending my weekends at the track.” That’s not typical of most young women, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
So how did Gracie get started in racing?
By the time Gracie was 5, she started asking about racing herself. Understandably, her dad wasn’t quite as excited as she was. “I was hoping neither one of my kids would want to race because I know how hard…it is,” says Tracy Trotter. “It’s almost impossible to make it as a racecar driver.”
When she was seven years old, she was watching Jeff Burton’s son race Bandoleros. During the race, an official asked Gracie to be the trophy girl. Though she had fun in the limelight, it was at that moment she decided she wanted to be celebrating herself in victory lane.
So, with a lot of apprehension, and an equal amount of excitement, Tracy took his little girl to Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC., and rented a couple of go-karts. Racing together on the track, Tracy wanted to see what Gracie would do in a competitive scenario by giving her a push from behind. She came off a corner too fast and they both spun out. Tracy rushed to see if Gracie was ok and to his surprise her response was, “That was fun. Can we do that again?” She was covered in dirt and thought it was awesome – definitely not what her dad was expecting. Needless to say, Gracie was hooked. So started the journey that led her to where she is today.
More than a racer
Though racing is her passion, Gracie has many interests off the track as well. The high school junior attends an online school so she has the schedule flexibility to race full time. She’s active in her church Youth Group. And she’s passionate about her fitness goals, and living a healthy lifestyle. If she’s not at the track, you’ll often find her at the gym, likely in the weight room.
Giving to others has always been near and dear to Gracie’s heart. For the past nine years, she has been serving at Urban Ministries homeless shelter and Room at the Inn. She spends time at Urban Ministries on a weekly basis. “The (clients there) don’t have a lot, but they are usually happy. It makes me really appreciate what I have and realize that it’s the little things that are really important.”
It’s truly a team sport
Her heroes are her dad, and her Legends crew chief, Joe Ryan. “These are the people who have taught me and made me a better driver all around,” says Gracie. “They encourage me and challenge me to always do better and push myself harder.” She also admires driver Danica Patrick, one of the most successful women racers in history. “I like how she’s paved the way for younger female drivers, and she’s made a name for herself with her fitness and the business she’s created, and I want to do that, too.”
Spending time at the track with her teammates, helping them, and learning more about her race car are among the things Gracie loves doing. But being in the car, racing hard, and doing her best every day are what make her shine, inside and out.