If you discovered off-road racer Mia Chapman on the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series website, you’d probably pronounce her name wrong upon first introduction.
She’s listed as “Mia Champman” on the roster, but that’s understandable since last season was her first year in the series.
At 14 years old, Chapman’s won seven championships in seven years of racing. Most of her short career has centered around racing karts in the Arizona desert, and her seven championships mostly come from regional Trophy Kart and JR2 Kart competition across Arizona and California.
Chapman just finished her rookie year ninth overall in the standings for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series’ Modified Kart division, all while racing several regional championships and being one of the faces of a film called “Mod Kids USA.”
But when Chapman first started racing at age 7, all of that wasn’t in the picture. It was just a small family operation.
“We really didn’t expect it to get as big and developed as it has,” said Chapman, who still spends her free time helping her dad work on the cars. “When we first started out, it was kind of more just for fun and to go out there and do something unique.”
The whole thing started before Chapman was even around to help out in the shop as her career is rooted in her father’s love of racing dirt bikes.
“Once (my parents) found out they were having me, my dad kind of had to stop racing,” Chapman said. “He wanted me to race, and he actually wanted me to race dirt bikes. But my mom said no to that, so he found something a little safer.”
Her father found that something at an off-road expo when Chapman was “really young.” Christmas came and so did the gift of an off-road race car, launching Chapman into the dirt and into a male-dominated sport.
Racing in a field of boys, she says, makes the wins and the championships even cooler.
“I definitely love beating the boys,” Chapman said. “But at the same time, I don’t really consider myself being a girl in the sport. I’m a driver out there just like everybody else, and all of the boys, they don’t take it easy on me.”
While she tries not to consider herself as any different from the boys, Chapman believes there are parts about being a minority in the sport that are “very cool.”
“A girl definitely gets more attention at the race track than one of the boys,” said Chapman, who races alongside females like motocross star Brian Deegan’s daughter, Hailie Deegan, in the Lucas Oil Modified Kart field. “We get a lot of people always coming by the tent and wanting to take pictures with me, and some moms will say that I’ve inspired their daughters.
“At the last race, a mom came up to me and said how I talked to one of her daughters at the races and she really looks up to me now. It’s really cool just to hear stuff like that, and being an inspiration is just awesome.”