TOPEKA, Kan. – The Sports Car Club of America members tout themselves as a “racing family,” eager to lend a hand where needed and assist others whenever possible.
The latest example of that comes in the Solo community, where Lori Rothmuller and Sarah Tooth were recently named the first recipients of the Wendi Allen Scholarship.
The Wendi Allen Scholarship Fund provides support to promising young women Solo competitors, offering free entries to Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Tour events, a set of tires for The Tire Rack Solo National Championships from BFGoodrich Tires, and $1500 in cash to be used for event expenses throughout the year.
The scholarship was conceived and funded by the family of Wendi Allen, an eight-time National Champion who competed with her husband, Mark. Allen was a fixture at the National Championships from 1994 until 2005, when sidelined while pregnant with twin daughters Cassidy and Caitlin (now competing in the Formula Junior class). Allen competed every year at the Solo National Championships through 2012 before concentrating her strength on her current, long-time battle with cancer.
Rothmuller and Tooth were selected by a committee of successful female drivers, chaired by Tara Johns and including Beth McClure-Strelnieks, Denise Cashmore, Shelly Monfort, and Patty Tunnell. Responsible for selecting two scholarship winners each season, the group has claimed 31 National Championships, in total, and is recognized as leaders on and off the course. The support for these recipients is not limited to financial backing, however as the program seeks to offer driver training, mentoring and event logistic assistance as well. For the Allen family, it is a way to ensure that the legacy Allen most wishes to leave in the sport is maintained.
Rothmuller, 21, is a University of California, Davis student who heads the Davis Motorsports Club focusing on student participation in amateur motorsports, especially SCCA Solo. Not only a participant, Rothmuller draws other college students to the sport with her efforts. In her only previous visit to The Tire Rack Solo National Championships in 2011, Rothmuller finished fifth in B Street Prepared Ladies.
“Winning this award is almost surreal, and a huge honor,” Rothmuller said. “I wasn’t familiar with Wendi Allen’s story before I was nominated, but I am now, as well as knowing some of Shelley Monfort’s story. Both women are incredibly inspiring. They are the top tier of female autocrossers, and to be picked for this award by them, to possibly someday emulate them is such an honor. Winning this scholarship means that I could, potentially, carry on this legacy, which is really exciting.”
Tooth migrated from Alberta, Canada, to Houston, Texas, two years ago to attend Rice University as a grad student, getting involved in the Houston Region events and regularly recruiting new SCCA members to events. A quick study, Tooth finished second in the Street Touring FWD Ladies class in her 2013 debut at the Tire Rack Solo National Championships. The scholarship package will be a sure boost to her early success.
“This scholarship is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow as a driver,” Tooth said. “I’d like to win more often than I do, because that’s fun. But I’d also like to gain a better understanding of how my car works, and how to set it up for particular effects. When I started I couldn’t even change a wheel if I got a flat, so I’ve come a long way already.”
Pleased with the initial selection, the responsibilities for the committee are just beginning.
“This is an amazing opportunity to get more women involved in this great sport,” Johns said. “As women, we tend to be more cautious entering into an intense sport, especially one that is dominated by men. I am hopeful that through this Fund, we will be able to mentor women who will develop into amazing competitors and assets to our community. I remember how intimidating it was to go to my first national-level event. I also believe that we can help these promising women ease into the sport and continue to grow competitive ladies classes.”