But Chapman isn’t always competing against the boys. When she isn’t wiping dirt off of her race helmet, she’s practicing the gymnastics that carry over from her years of competitive cheerleading.
“I cheered for two years,” Chapman said. “But when racing started growing much more, I couldn’t really do that anymore because I was gone so much. I kind of stepped away from that this year, but I’ll probably get back into it.”
Her friends have a better understanding of cheering than racing as Chapman says off-road racing remained an abstract concept among her peer group for quiet awhile.
“Throughout the school year, my friends always asked me questions,” said Chapman, who began online schooling last year in order to accommodate the traveling that goes along with her racing schedule. “They never really fully got what I do until one day, we brought my car and we did a little video and a presentation on it and just sat there and answered questions.
“Once we did that, they kind of understood what it really was. They were always asking me when my next race was and were always looking to do what they could to support me,” she noted. “So, that was really cool — to just kind of introduce something new to them that they hadn’t heard of before.”
Chapman claims the decision to leave classrooms full of those supportive friends for online schooling wasn’t the way she or her parents originally wanted to go, but the sacrifice has “been great so far” in helping her to focus on racing.
And, ultimately, that’s where she wants her career to be — she just doesn’t know which discipline of racing that career will be in yet.
“I’d like to stay in off road, but at the same time you never know how it’s going to go,” said Chapman, who also practices on asphalt. “I’ve been to a few TORC races and it seems really cool there. There are a lot of big names racing there and it’s a really cool series, but at the same time, there’s NASCAR and all that. It’d be really cool to get into that someday.”
Even if the racing career doesn’t work out, Chapman’s goal is to “just live up to (her) dream” of staying in the racing community.
But if she’s learned anything in her seven years, it’s that she’s “going to race for as long as (she) can” — and win, if she follows the pattern she’s on right now.
“Racing takes a lot of hard work and dedication and we’ve definitely had our ups and downs,” Chapman said. “But at the same time, we’ve had so much support — not just from sponsors, but from just everybody overall.
“My friends and family are always supportive and looking to help me, so for us not to be one of the big names in racing and go out there and win championships, it’s awesome.”