Alamo supports 13 year-old Paige Wheeler's American dream
For most 13-year old school girls, summer holidays involve hanging-out with their friends, trips to the cinema and perhaps a week or two in the sun. Paige Wheeler, a Wrenn School pupil from Wellingborough, has other plans. She is one of the UK’s leading Junior Drag Racers and thanks to support from her sponsor, Alamo Rent A Car, she is off to Bristol Tennessee to race in the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League where she is set to take on 800 of her American and Canadian counterparts in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In England, Paige and her eight-year-old sister, Belle, race at Santa Pod and Shakespeare County Raceways. They drive American drag racers, custom-built for them by Half Scale Dragsters Inc. For the trip to Bristol, Half Scale is lending Paige a new car, which she must get to grips with quickly if she is to attain any success. It’s a big challenge for a young girl, but Paige takes it all in her stride.
“I’m excited about going, but not at all nervous,” Paige said ahead of departing for the US. “I did race at Bristol for the first time last year, and managed to win a few rounds, so I know what it will be like.”
The Bristol track runs along a valley floor and is aptly named, Thunder Valley Raceway. The adult version of Paige’s car – aTop Fuel Dragster – exceeds 300 miles per hour and emits a noise measured on the Richter Scale. The Juniors only race over an eighth-mile, 220 yards. With its 0-60mph time of around three seconds, Paige’s car regularly tops 80mph at the finish and accelerates from 0-60mph in around three seconds, which would leave all but the most extreme road-going supercars for dust over that distance.
Paige will be competing in three separate races over ten days at Bristol, culminating in the world’s largest Junior Dragster event. Although the UK season is good preparation for this trip, Paige only has a few events a year to hone her skills at home, whilst the US and Canadian dragsters compete almost every weekend. Added to this, it’s a hot, high pressure event, so Paige has her work cut out. But she’s not daunted: “I’ll let everyone else worry about that. I just want to get to Bristol and race.”
“Competing in Bristol is an amazing opportunity for Paige and we’ve had tremendous support from our sponsors, headed by Alamo Rent A Car, who help make this all possible,” says Andy Wheeler, Paige’s dad. “In her first full year of competition, Paige won the Junior Dragster trophy at Santa Pod’s FIA European Finals and this season, she’s currently fourth in the UK national championship, so we’ve got everything to play for. Paige is very focused and we’re hoping she can hold her own in Tennessee.”
“Paige is having another incredible year in 2012, making us proud to be her sponsor and help her take on new challenges,” added Neil Summerville, EMEA Franchising Director, Alamo Rent A Car. “The Eastern Conference Finals is a major event on the drag racing calendar, giving Paige some vital experience and pushing her to the next level. She has already proven herself to be a champion in the making and we’re delighted to help her make her American dream come true.”