Editor’s Note: Anna Parkhurst races for more than just victories. SPEED SPORT Magazine readers will learn about her close-knit family and her path through the ranks in the July issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from that story.
Not long after that, Childress gave her the opportunity she needed.
After discussing it with her parents, Ahnna Parkhurst wound up with a pair of mini outlaw go-karts and headed to Millbridge Speedway in North Carolina. That was the start of her time with the Team Dillon Racing development program, where she’s gone from go-karts to late models in two years’ time.
Her race cars sport a pink paint scheme promoting a fund for cancer patients in honor of her mom, who has terminal cancer. Parkhurst’s racing career allows the family to spread awareness for “accelerating the cure,” and her father said her efforts raised more than $100,000 last year.
Parkhurst was 13 years old when it all began, hopping into a go-kart about eight years later than kids in the racing world typically do.
“We had to kind of make up for the ground we lost since I started at 13,” said Parkhurst, who is now 15. “It was definitely a big learning curve and a bit of a costly experience, but after a few races, I started to get the hang of it.
“Then, probably about halfway through our season (at Millbridge), we were able to run just as well as all of the other cars we raced against. It was a big learning curve for a few months, but it came to me pretty soon after.”
The racing thing came to Parkhurst quickly enough for her to finish eighth in the standings of the box stock division at Millbridge Speedway in her debut season, despite missing the first seven races of the year because she hadn’t gotten into a car yet.
Parkhurst competed for two championships at the North Carolina dirt track the following year, running 44 races and finishing 39 of them in the top five. The consistency and 13 victories were enough to secure second and third place in the two classes.
Then, it was time to move on.
“(Childress) was happy, so we decided to jump to a (dirt) late model to see if it went as smoothly as the go-karts did,” said Parkhurst, who ran the 2015 season on dirt with an average finish of eighth. “It did, so I guess I just got lucky.
“This will be my second full year in a dirt late model and I’m also running an asphalt truck,” she added. “We’ve had quite a jump, but it’s been good for us and we’ve been pretty successful, so hopefully we can keep going and make something of it.”