Patriot Profile: Taylor Kryzcki turns family tradition of drag racing into a reality

Sam Kelderman, Sports Editor

The smell of racing fuel on a warm summer night, the thrill of going 100 mph on a short track, and the pride in carrying on a long time family tradition: these moments are what senior Taylor Krzycki experiences in drag racing—a sport where drivers race their cars on a straight quarter mile track.
The maintenance of the car, the intensity of the staging lanes, and the manipulation of the gas and break to produce a fast start are aspects of racing that most people are unfamiliar with, but Krzycki has gained tremendous expertise and opportunities as a racer while representing Liberty as the only drag racer in the school.
“It all started with my grandpa,” Krzycki said. “My aunt and he raced together as a father-daughter thing, and so my mom went to the track too. My dad raced in high school, then met my mom and raced more with the family. They started bringing me to the track when I was about 3 years old.”
She told herself that when she turned 16, she would start racing, and she did.
“It’s been so fun to have a dream and actually accomplish it. It feels amazing,” Krzycki said.
The sport is so much more than the 12.88 seconds it takes Krzycki to fly down the quarter mile track; there is a lot of technical behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing fast times and victories.
“Before getting to the track, I have to fill up on premium gas, but only ¾ of the tank because a full tank weighs the car down too much,” Krzycki said. “When I get to the track, I check the pressure in my tires twice because anything off balance can send me crashing into the wall. Then I test my car to make sure I like how it’s running. My dad is always there helping me—he’s like my crew chief.”
When she pulls up to the staging lanes, she stops and pops the hood to let the engine air out. Officials will come by and check her trunk, helmet and seatbelt. When she’s ready to race she will close the hood and roll up her windows. She and her opponent will both bump forward, their first lights will come on, and then each of them will bump forward again which is when the three amber lights come on in a progression.
“At the third light you go because the next light will be green,” Krzycki said. “But that’s another technicality of it. If you go too fast, you red light and lose the race automatically.”
Technicalities aside, Krzycki has had some of the best moments of her life racing. Her first time racing is easily one of her favorites.
“After I had beaten a guy in my first race and proved to him and all of his friends that girls could race too, I drove back to my pit, my hair flowing out the window listening to people cheer for me,” Krzycki said. “There I was welcomed by 30 of my closest friends and family that I did not know came, and with the adrenaline from the race and the overwhelming amount of support, I starting crying and hugged all of them. It was easily one of the best moments of my life.”
She has long term goals for racing during the summers.
“I am super excited for High School Drags this year, a drag racing event for only high students in May,” Krzycki said. “With more experience and better planning, I think I have a really good shot at winning.”