GET TO KNOW GRACIE TROTTER – Q&A WITH ENEOS-SPONSORED ARCA MENARDS SERIES RACER
As we wait for the 2020 ARCA Menards Series to resume racing, we wanted to take the time to get to know the newest member of the team. Gracie Trotter is an 18 year-old driver from Denver, NC who joined Bill McAnally Racing at the start of this year.
We fired a few questions at Gracie to get to know her…
Q: Tell us bit about yourself and how you got into racing.
A: I’m a third generation racecar driver following my dad and grandpa. My dad moved to North Carolina from Texas when he was 21 to pursue a career in NASCAR but, unfortunately, he didn’t have the sponsors to make it happen.
By time he was 30, he had started Calico Coatings and established his own race team. I grew up going to the track with him every weekend and fell in love with it — I would beg and beg him every weekend to let me race!
Finally, when I was seven he bought a used go-kart, so we could race for fun on the weekends. And somehow it landed us here with Bill McAnally Racing about ten years later!
Q: How did you connect with BMR and what has the experience been like since joining the team?
A: The process started when I joined the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) program in 2016. At the end of 2017, Toyota wanted me to test a BMR car at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California. The idea was to see how I would do. It was a last-minute decision, and when I got there I couldn’t reach the pedals!
I’m only 4’11”, so it takes a lot of time for me to get fitted into a proper racecar. Even though I didn’t get to test, I stayed at the track to watch the session and get to know the team. Ever since then, I kept in touch with Bill and he invited me to test the car at the end of last year. It went great, and my time with the BMR has been great to this point. Everybody is super-helpful to my development and all have a positive mindset.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in 2020 with BMR?
A: We had some really great runs with BMR before the season was halted. We ran fourth at Las Vegas and was running seventh at Phoenix until we had some motor problems.
BMR has given me a good car and a good crew chief in Roger Bracken. Roger and I work very well together. I think if we can maintain this momentum we could grab a win or two this year!
Q: What sort of challenges do you face with the #99 ENEOS Toyota Camry? How steep is the learning curve?
Q: Moving up to the ARCA Menards Series has been a big step. Before racing the #99 ENEOS Camry, I raced Super Late Models and Late Model stock cars — in fact, I still run in Late Model stock cars. However, I feel like the ARCA cars are those two cars mixed into one. It means I’ve had to learn to put the two driving styles into one package. I’d say, the biggest challenge of all would be learning how to race with the General Tires. They are so different compared to the Hoosier Tires I’ve always run — they don’t wear at the same rate, so your approach for saving tires during a long race is very different.
Q: Any other thoughts before the 2020 season gets underway again?
A: As I said, it’s been a great start to the season with BMR. Thinking back ten years to when my dad and I started racing on weekends for fun, it has now turned into a career. I never thought it would land me where I am today!
I’m very grateful to Toyota, Bill McAnally and ENEOS for believing in me and enabling me to run the #99 Camry this year. It’s been an awesome experience and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year has to offer!