New Hampshire Teen Testing The Late Model Waters In 2013

SOUTH PARIS, Maine – Taylor Martin raised eyebrows last season in a Legends ride at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but in 2013 the 15-year-old driver from Windham, N.H., will break out a new Late Model in hopes of making her debut in that division.

Martin purchased a Crazy Horse Racing Late Model from Austin Theriault Racing and will test the car during open practice sessions in the spring with an eye on being race-ready later in the season.

“I am so excited for this year. I am ready for it,” said Martin, who became the first and youngest woman ever to finish on the podium in an event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last summer. “I’m really, really excited about being able to move up into these cars.

“I know that Crazy Horse is going to be really helpful – and that’s big, because we don’t know a whole lot about them yet. They’re going to help my dad, and they’re going to be able to evaluate me and let me know when we’re ready.”

Martin started racing quarter-midgets when she was eight years old, advancing into the Legends ranks by last year. She won Bandelero championships at Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, Conn., in 2010 and 2011 – becoming the both the first female and the youngest driver to record championships at the NASCAR-sanctioned short-track.

In 2012, she made a total of 54 Legends starts – the bulk of them on both the mini-oval and road course at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – with two wins, 14 podium finishes and an astounding 43 Top-10s.

Her career has taken her across the northeast and as far south as Charlotte, N.C., for Legends races, but she knows the next step in her No. 20 Matt Brown Truck Repair/Spectrum Marketing Ford Fusion might be the biggest she’s taken yet.

“I have small goals. I want to finish races, I don’t want a lot of rubbing,” Martin said. “That’s probably the biggest thing right now – I want to finish races and not have any DNFs. It’s about setting those smaller goals until I can start setting bigger goals like Top-10s and Top-5s. That will be next year, or in a few years, when we get more comfortable.”

Helping find that comfort zone will be Crazy Horse Racing. Martin’s car is the same car that Austin Theriault drove to success on the ACT Late Model Tour before moving south.

The team will focus on participating in practice sessions at both Canaan Fair Speedway and Star Speedway in New Hampshire. When Martin is ready for competition, they hope to enter races in weekly divisions at those tracks.

“We need someone to help us get on our feet out there,” Martin said of Crazy Horse Racing. “We don’t want to send me out there when I’m not ready – I need to be able to run in the Top-15, I need to be able to compete. I don’t need to be out there in everyone’s way. I need to be able to go out there and gain everyone’s respect.”