Champion, which produces performance-driven spark plugs for every kind of combustion engine, is hosting a contest to select which race car drivers nationwide it will sponsor in 2014.
Las Vegas race car driver Kayli Barker is one of 392 drivers competing for a chance to be one of the sponsored few.
It’s been a good year for Barker. On the heels of emerging as 2013’s NASCAR Super Stock points champion at the Bullring at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, she was recently signed as a member of the Sigma Racing team.
A race car driver from the age of 8, Barker obtained her NASCAR license just after her 14th birthday. On Aug. 18, 2012, she won the NASCAR Whelen All-American series feature race, setting a new NASCAR age record: 15 years, 24 days.
Barker is a second-generation race car driver; her dad was racing super stocks when she was still a toddler, and some of her earliest memories are helping him tighten bolts on his cars.
In 2006, she started racing Bandoleros, the next step beyond simple go-karts, and ended the year as the Nevada State Bandolero Bandit Champion. In 2009, she won the championship again, becoming the youngest female track champion in Las Vegas and the first female to place within the national top 10. In 2011, she won 18 races in a row in the Bandolero Outlaw division, racing to the championship with a total of 22 wins and becoming the only female to win two track championships in Las Vegas. She placed fourth in the nation that year, although she had more total wins than any other racers.
A junior at Mountain View Christian School, Barker earns straight A’s and hasn’t missed a single day of classes.
She is also the spokesperson for Project 150, a program dedicated to offering supportive services to homeless high school students throughout Clark County, helping these Las Vegas area youths receive the guidance they need to graduate from high school.
At the conclusion of Round 1 of voting, 15 racers will win $5,000 Champion sponsorships and move on to compete for the grand prize sponsorship of $50,000. Voting for round one ends Feb. 2.