Unbuckled: Getting to Know Kelsea Woodard


Hometown: Waterbury Center, VT

Division: Allen Lumber Street Stocks

Car: Blue Flame Gas #55 Ford Mustang

2017 Season: Finished 3rd in Street Stock points; Thunder Road Most Improved Driver; Street Stock Car Show winner


What are your favorite non-racing hobbies?

I like to go down to Gup’s (Steve Guptil’s) shop and just hang out with the guys and talk and gossip all the time, and I like to go plowing with Dad and hang out. That’s about it – I don’t really like the winter that much, and in the summer I’m busy with racing.

 What do you do for school and work?

I go to school at Harwood Union High School; I’m a junior there. Next year I’ll be going to CCV (Community College of Vermont) for my senior year and I’ll be able to get high school credits and college credits. I also work at Grenier’s Farm Stand & Bakery. I work in the bakery most of the time – sometimes I’m in the farm stand, but mostly I’m in the bakery making pies.

What are your current racing plans for 2018? Do you have any goals?

We’re going to be racing Tigers this year. We have a new one being built at RSB Chassis; a couple other people have them being built there, too. We plan to run for Rookie of the Year, try to finish top-10 in points, and mostly just have fun, because that’s what it’s all about. I also really want to win a race, because I haven’t done that yet.

 What was the highlight of the 2017 season for you?

The highlight was definitely winning Most Improved Driver. I mean, third place (in points) was really good and all, but Most Improved was really an honor. It’s hard to get, because the award is across the board between all divisions. That was definitely my biggest accomplishment.

How did you get started in racing?

There was actually a deal on Craigslist for a Ford Ranger race truck that could be raced at White Mountain in the Kid’s Truck division, and Dad asked me if I wanted to race, and I was like, “Yeah, sure.” So we went and got it, and I learned how to drive stick the day before we went to the race track around the driveway. We went to White Mountain, and I went out for my first practice, and it didn’t go so well. I had a total meltdown, and I said “I’m done – I’m not coming back.” So we never went back that year (2014), but then the following year, we went over for the open practice, and things took off from there, and here I am.

Your dad races as well. What’s it like having your dad there at the track every week, both racing and being in the pits with you?

To be honest, I like it better when he’s racing, because he’s not after me as much all the time. Sometimes his constructive criticism isn’t very constructive. (Laughs) But I do like having my family around me, and I do look up to him and enjoy having him there to tell me about things. And he’s taught me a lot about racing and how you do things.

Can you tell me more about your family?

My mom is at the track every week – she’s in the stands.  My younger brother Tanner is in the stands every week as well. In the pits, I have Gup and Eddie, who are basically family now. I have Sam, who plays the Mom role at the race track – she gets me snacks and whatever else I need. I also have Gracie – she’s there for moral support, but she’s like a sister now. I have a pretty wide racing family, and a racing family is kind of like a second family.

Do you have anyone that you consider a role model or that you take after?

I’d have to say my dad. I look up to him quite a bit – not only in racing, but in life as well. He’s always taught me that it’s all about the memories and it’s all about the fun. I mean, he can be pretty hard on everyone, but you’ve got to learn someday how things are.

What’s something that you’re really hoping to accomplish at some point in your life?

I hope to graduate from college and establish a stable, good life. Have a good job, a house, a family – you know, the typical life essentials. (Laughs) I want to live a fun life, but I also want to live a working life. I don’t want to be a slouch all my life.

What’s your dream vacation?

I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. I just want to go somewhere where the water on the beach is really blue, and the sand is white, and it’s warm. When I get older, I want to have the guys that come around and bring you the drinks on the platter. (Laughs) It looks fun, you know?

If someone turned on the radio/media player in your car, what would they most likely be listening to?

It would probably be country music, but I also can listen to pop and classic rock. I listen to classic rock every single day that I’m at Gup’s, and that’s a lot during the summer. I know a lot of the songs, and I go to band practice every week – there’s a band that practices at Gup’s – so I know almost all of those songs. But if you were to turn on the radio, it would be country.

If you were asked to appear on a TV show, which one would you want it to be?

I don’t really watch TV, so I’m going with a movie for this one. The movie that I would like to be in is Days of Thunder, and I’d like to be Cole Trickle putting down the hammer. And I want Gup to be the crew chief with the specially matched staggered tires. I mean, he does talk to the car when it’s sitting here in the shop. (Laughs)

What other sports do you follow or play?

My brother plays a lot of hockey – he plays it in the summer, he plays it in the winter, he plays it in the spring…his team goes all over: Canada, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine. Wherever you can think of, they go. So we follow that a lot. They’re all Bruins fans, so I guess I’m a Bruins fan too. I don’t play any sports through school or anything though, so I don’t really follow any others. In first grade, I thought that I wanted to try basketball, and I went to the first practice, and I cried the whole time. So I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t for me.

Who is your biggest supporter at the track?

My biggest supporter would definitely be Gup. He spends basically his whole week tending to the car, and then at the race track, he’s working on the car, and he’s always at the car to help me strap in and give me my fist bump before I go out. He’s always telling me little tips here and there to get better, and during the winter, he spends quite a bit of time getting the car ready. I wouldn’t be where I am if he didn’t do what he did every day.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?

I think my parents would have the biggest influence. Financially, obviously, but also support-wise physically and mentally. My mom is there for the emotional side of things, and my dad’s there for telling me tips and just talking me through things and everything like that.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Treat people how you want to be treated.” I’ve learned that through the work force, obviously – if you want to have respect, you’ve got to give respect. I’ve also learned that on the race track. If you give respect there, you’ll receive it back, and that’s a big thing in racing.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself graduating from college, trying to find a job, and basically just setting my life up to be successful. I hope to still be at the race track, but you never know what can happen between now and then – things can change unexpectedly.

Have you thought about what you’re planning to study in college?

I’m looking to study early education and special education – mainly, I want to do something around kids. If it doesn’t involve education, it will definitely involve kids. I’m really interested in kids and everything surrounding them.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would invest quite a bit of it, but I would also build a house with a go-kart track that went around it, and I would have a whole fleet of go-karts so all my friends could come over and we could just rip around the house on our go-karts. (Laughs) But I’d invest too and build some interest. I’d also pay off my college loans, because those are pretty expensive.