A good friend of mine, Alyssa Ramirez, who is also a sorority sister, recently asked if she could write a profile story on my involvement in drag racing for her journalism class. I thought it was quite intelligent and well written. So, here it is for your viewing pleasure. Thanks again, Alyssa!
On March 3, Chapman University senior, Emily Williams did something a little crazy—she bought a racecar.
And not just any racecar, but a Super Comp dragster, a car that can reach 170 miles per hour in 8.9 seconds. Intense, right? Not for Williams who thrives on pushing the boundaries and maintaining a busy lifestyle.
However at first glance, no one would expect Williams to be a speed-craving daredevil. With tailored pants, a chic blouse, heels and perfectly groomed hair, she looks more like a businesswoman than a drag racer. Even her major at Chapman University is relatively safe: Child Development. And she was also Archon, or President, of the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma for a semester.
“I have never been one to fly under the radar,” explains Williams. “I love trying new things, putting myself out there and doing the unexpected.”
Williams’ racing career began in January when she enrolled in a class at the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing at the Pomona Raceway taught by professional racer Jack Beckman. This two-day class taught the basics of professional drag racing and allowed students a chance to hone their racing skills and to obtain their professional drivers license.
“Racing that car made me feel alive,” said Williams, whose face lights up at the thought of it. “When that car launches off the starting line, and you are thrown back in your seat, it is such a thrill.”
Williams was clearly the underdog. And being the only girl and one of two students under 45 years old only made her want to work harder than the rest.
“While [the other students] were all chatting and goofing off on the sidelines, I was running through the passes in my head and mentally practicing,” said Williams. “Consequently, I was the only person in the class to license in the six runs allotted.”
She did what few achieve in the drag racing world, and Beckman was impressed.
“[Beckman] told my father that I was one of the best racers he’d seen go through the class,” said Williams. “And after that, how could we not get a car?”
However, more than being a dragster, she is known for being genuine, loveable, daring, unique and dedicated as well as for being an amazing person that many people within the sorority respect tremendously.
“I really look up to [Emily] as a role model,” said Jessy Jones, the member recruitment and vision chairman. “Last fall, when I came back from being abroad, she really made me feel at home and called me her favorite.”
Now, Williams’ only worries are graduating in May and, of course, finding a place to store her dragster. Neighbors are tired of hearing the dragster run, and the family is tired of maneuvering around the dragster in the garage. So her new slogan: “Will race for rent—for the car, not me.”