Updated: Aug 11, 2020
The next showcased driver in the Driving Forward Series is the inspiring Michelle Quinn, Fmod driver with Central Florida Region. Thank you Michelle for giving us a glimpse into how you got started in autocross to becoming a trophy winner at Nationals and everything in between!
What region do you belong to? What class & car do you drive?
Central Florida Region - I drive Jeff Blumenthal's 1995 KBS MKVII in FM.
When did you start autocrossing? How did you get started? Did someone in particular introduce you?
I started autocrossing in 2005 in Buffalo NY with the Western New York region. I had a friend with a 2005 WRX who started autocrossing and asked me to come watch one of his races. After seeing it, I knew it was something I had to try. I started racing my automatic 1999 Volkswagen Beetle, which was just as dreadful as it sounds!
What have been some of your autocross accomplishments?
I've won 7 FML national championships, and placed 5th in the open class last year (2018) at nationals.
Do you have a co-driver? How is the dynamic between you two? Is it important to have a co-driver who is supportive of you? Why?
Jeff Blumenthal owns the car, and Scott Nardin has been driving with us for as long as I've been part of the team. Scott is very much our motivator - he is constantly trying to change/test things to improve the car, and makes sure we are focused and prepared as a team. Jeff is very easy-going, willing to help anyone in need, and enjoys the social side of autocross as much as the competition. Between the three of us, we are always able to find the perfect balance between driving fast and having fun!
What are your goals for the 2019 season? Will you be doing any ProSolos? Nationals?
My goal for the 2019 season is the same goal I've had since I began autocrossing - to drive fast and have fun! You'll find me at the Charlotte Tour, the Grenada Pro, Spring Nationals, the Peru Pro, the Oscoda Pro, and of course Nationals.
When you're not racing, what can you be found doing?
I have entirely too many hobbies and not enough time to do them all! My current activities include crossfit, running, mountain biking, kite-boarding, wake boarding, kayaking, paddle boarding, and enjoying Florida's wonderful west coast beaches and warm Gulf waters. I also enjoy horseback riding, curling, disc golf, hydrofoiling, sleeping, and bacon. Bacon should be self-explanatory.
Are you involved in any other forms of Motorsports? Is there another type of racing you would like to try in the future?
I used to participate in rallycross and road rally when I lived in NY - I had a 1999 Volkswagen Beetle that was a former stage rally car. I also got into road racing a bit when I moved to Florida - I drove with Darren Seltzer and Chi Ho from Dynasty racing when they had their BSpec Honda Fits. I'd like to get more into road racing in the future, and ultimately end up in some kind of open-wheel car.
What is your advice for someone getting into racing?
Have fun! We are all amateurs who will likely never get famous because of autocross, so don't take it too seriously!
Who are some of your inspirations or heroes? How have they influenced your racing career?
When I first started autocrossing in Western New York, I tried to learn as much as I could from Dale Kunze and Stephen Yeoh - they were always fast and willing to help! Joe Gonzalez and Clemens Berger sparked my interest in BMod; and I always enjoy listening to Scott Nardin and Dan Wasdahl debate the course, or cars, or anything! More recently, my course walks with Jason Hobbs have given me a different perspective and different racing strategy, and are hopefully making me faster! And of course I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for Jeff Blumenthal - he's the epitome of kindness and selflessness, and is what anyone would want in a good co-driver and a great friend.
How do the #DrivingForwardTogether ideals align with you?
I've always seen myself as just part of the crew, or one of the guys; not necessarily more important or unique just because I am a woman. We all bring something different to the table, and should all be able to compete together without special treatment or preference.