INVERNESS, Fla. — Taylor Ferns will be competing in Saturday night’s Sandi DeCaire Classic 41 at Citrus County Speedway.
It will be her first start with the BG Products Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series. It will also be her first start in a pavement winged sprint car.
The 26-year-old Shelby Township, Mich. driver is enjoying a stellar 2022 season. Ferns has primarily been competing with the 500 Sprint Car Tour and USAC Silver Crown Series.
She has scored two podium finishes in USAC Silver Crown competition this year, and in the process, made history as the first female driver to finish on the podium in series history.
Ferns has also raced winged dirt sprint cars, dirt and pavement midgets, asphalt late models, and even raced with the ARCA Menards Series. Now she will add to her resume and attempt to compete in winged pavement sprint cars.
“Florida is like a second or third home you could say,” said Ferns. ”I’m down here a lot and have been coming since I was 3 years old. Whenever I’m down here in the off-season I try to catch a race. I have friends who race with the Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series. One of the tracks they race at a lot (417 Speedway) is only about 35-40 minutes north of my residence in Bonita Springs. I go up there a lot and watch when they’re racing. Its kinda been on my bucket list to race in the offseason when I am down here. I can keep getting more seat time.”
Ferns will be driving for famed Florida car owner Mac Steele. Nearly every top driver who calls Florida home has driven for Steele at one time or another during their career, including his son, the late Dave Steele. Mac is a Little 500 Hall of Fame inductee who continues to field pavement sprint cars in the state of Florida regularly.
“Dave Sink connected me with Mac Steele,” Ferns said. “He’s allowing me a chance to race one of his cars so I’m thankful for the opportunity. Hopefully it will be a really great experience Saturday. I just wanna get laps, be consistent, and progress throughout the night. Hopefully we’ll be up front, if not on top.”
Ferns will be competing in a car that the late Dave Steele went undefeated in with 6 consecutive wins in 2012 before the car was sold. The car never raced again until the elder Steele brought it back out last season. The car appears nearly identical as it did in 2012 with the familiar No. 33.
“It really is an honor to drive for Mac,” Ferns said. “Within open wheel racing you recognize the Steele name. It’s really cool to drive this car, especially with the history behind it. I’m excited and have been looking forward to this race ever since Mac offered me the ride.”
Ferns is no stranger to pavement sprint car despite no winged experience. She won 4 non-wing sprint car events at Spartan Speedway in Michigan at the age of 14 and followed it up with another five the following season. Last season she was victorious on two occasions with the now defunct Auto Value Super Sprints.
“I think it’s gonna be cool to be down here,” Ferns said. “Like I said, its something I’ve wanted to do for a while and I’m really grateful for the opportunity. I have realistic expectations this weekend. I wanna finish the race and make sure the car is in one piece. I wanna just learn as much as I can. I wanna be smart about it. But obviously if I could finish on the podium that would be a good considering everything is new to me”.