JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Sisters Phoenyx and Raven Kimball will be spending New Year’s Day on track at Goodyear All American Speedway, racing alongside each other in the Legends portion of the Hangover 150 on Sunday.
Fifteen-year-old Phoenyx is making her first career start in a Legend Car just months after clinching the track championship in the Bandolero division at Goodyear All American Speedway. Meanwhile, 20-year-old Raven has over a half-decade of racing experience and has competed in a Legend Car at the Jacksonville, N.C., facility before.
For the two sisters out of Raleigh, N.C., racing is a way of bonding.
“I guess it’s a way of bonding,” the younger Kimball sister said. “We’re not major competitors and we don’t have anything against each other. It’s sibling bonding.”
Raven began racing Karts at 18 and now teaches kids how to race in a league at Rush Hour Karting. She’s also been able to teach her younger sister some things about racing as well.
“I think the main thing that she has learned from me is that it doesn’t matter if you’re the best, just go out there and have fun. We’re always learning,” Raven said. “It’s going to be awesome racing together for the first time this weekend. I’m super excited. I love supporting my sister and being out there with her.”
Phoenyx has nine wins at Goodyear All American Speedway and scored 21 total victories in 2022, with many of those coming at the quarter-mile Wake County Speedway bullring in Raleigh. All of those victories came in the Bandolero class — a beginner class for kids under the age of 18 where they can learn how to race before moving up the ladder.
Now, as she continues to climb up the ranks, a new challenge awaits.
“The biggest difference [between the Bandolero and Legend Car] is definitely the size of the car and how fast it goes,” Phoenyx noted. “It definitely takes practice, having to lift and use more brake than anything, and having to get back [in the gas] at the right time.”
Her goal in the Legend Car is “just to get better and eventually start winning some races” — something she believes she can achieve before the season ends. Given that the young driver has taken a proclivity to Goodyear All American Speedway, a track where she won in her first start, it would not be surprising if she was contending for wins at the four-tenths-mile circuit in Jacksonville by the end of the season.
“I like how smooth the track is, how clean they have the infield and just the track in general,” Phoenyx explained.
Phoenyx ran her first laps in a Legend Car earlier in December at Wake County Speedway. During a practice session prior to the New Year’s Day race at Goodyear All American Speedway, she was wearing attire sporting the likeness of rising female NASCAR star Hailie Deegan.
Phoenyx, like Deegan, is part of a growing contingent of female racers. Last season, her main championship rival at Goodyear All American Speedway was Delaney Gray, as well as Virginia Beach’s Sarah Whitesell. In the Legends division, Phoenyx will race alongside 17-year-old Carsyn Gillikin from Morehead City — a speedway regular since 2021.
“We go through everything together,” Phoenyx said, referring to herself and the other female racers at the track. “We just spend all of our time together practicing and learning together.”
Gillikin, who will race on Sunday, echoed those sentiments.
“I’m really looking forward to Sunday’s race,” Gillikin said. “This season, I finally have the equipment to run against other top contenders, and knowing two of those this weekend are females is super exciting. I’m looking forward to talking and hanging out with Phoenyx and Raven, because I think we’ll run into each other a lot this season.”
Gillikin scored a podium finish in her most recent appearance at Goodyear All American Speedway in November.