One third of the Shifting Points Podcast, Jess is the reason Kathy decided to try motorsports. What a great influence!
What is your name and what motorsports do you participate in?
Jess Stratton, autocross. I want to do a track day very soon!
When did you start Autocrossing, and how did you get into it? What clubs do you drive with?
I started in 2005 after attending a fundraiser which was a small 1st gear autocross course. I got hooked and joined SCCA to take their autocross class, drove up there myself, and did my first season. After that I joined BMW CCA and Renegade Miata. [All located in Massachusetts]
What cars have you owned, and what car do you currently drive and what class are you in?
I have a 2006 heavily modified MINI Cooper S that I used to race, but that now has 210k miles and is happily living the retired life as a beach and child transporter. I currently race a stock Miata ND1 (just an exhaust).
Any words for newcomers or someone hesitant to motorsport?
It’s scary, especially if you show up to your first event and don’t even know how to fasten a helmet (that was me!). Find someone you feel comfortable asking questions to. Trust me, they will be more than happy to help.
We hear that you have started a podcast with a few other women, tell us about that!
Car podcasts can be just as overwhelming as being a newbie in motor sports! We try to make it less overwhelming by interviewing the regular attendees that like to have fun, not just the champions, and ask them about their cars and how they learned what they know.
What is it that you do for a living?
I am an instructor for LinkedIn Learning. We used to be Lynda.com. I teach GMail, most of the Google courses and Outlook and PowerPoint. If you’ve ever watched a help file video in Outlook or PowerPoint, you may have heard my voice. I have a few live action videos on Delta flights answering everyday tech questions people may have. I had pink hair in those videos.
How has being a woman in a male dominated computer field influenced how you look at women in motorsports?
It’s a completely different world than it was when I first started, for the better, and I see that in both the computer field and motor sports, though we can do better. There’s more women instructors in motorsports, just as there are more women in leadership roles in tech. I still see and feel that pressure to have to do well in order to be placed “on the map” as an autocross racer, but there are way less egos here. I think it’s incredibly important to have other women and young girls hear our female voices in the podcast. I try and post both tech and racing photos on instagram as I know I have a lot of my daughter’s friends following me.
When you’re not racing and podcasting, what can you be found doing?
I sing and play keyboard in a band called The Strattones (we just released an album that you can stream everywhere, poke poke LOL). Or I’m sitting on the couch enjoying a gin or scotch and probably watching a really bad horror or action movie.
What are your plans for the 2021 season?
To finally get my front bumper fixed. Note: When it’s November and the staff says that the cones have been out all night and you should avoid hitting them in the AM runs as they are frozen, you should take that advice seriously. Granted the duct tape is how a lot of people recognize me at this point.
What are you focused on improving this off season and into next season?
I drove a front wheel drive car for 10 years, which is all about being aggressive on the gas pedal. Now I drive a rear wheel, and I do much better when I don’t have a death grip on the wheel, and can let the back end swing around a bit. I need to remember how to drive the car I’m in.
How does the Driving Forward Together initiative align with your views ?
Pixie Posse Racing [A group of women autocrossers] was formed as we realized more women were coming with us to autocross events and loving it. We love having women (and young ladies in karting) on our podcast to tell everyone their stories.