Recap of the 2012 season

Hello and Happy Holidays!

This year has been absolutely amazing and I just wanted to take the time to include you in all of my endeavors of 2012.  A family friend of ours would always send out a letter with their Christmas cards explaining how their year went to keep their distant friends in touch; so I’ve decided to do the same!

For those of you that don’t know, in 2011 I had my first fully sponsored season of racing with Scion and Crawford Performance. We finished 2nd overall in National Auto Sports Association (NASA) time trials (solo racing) and it was my new year’s resolution for 2012 to take chances and risks whenever I could.

With that being said, I did just that!  I started renting race cars locally to compete in the same series as my brother, 600 racing, and raced an open wheel thunder roadster as well as legends cars.  I was competitive in the few races I did, which put some more confidence in me in the driver’s seat of wheel to wheel races.

In February I was chosen as one of the 32 candidates to compete in the first season of Octane Academy, a new show that premiered on national television on Fuel TV.  I was in Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s drift camp and I place 2nd overall in it.  This was an amazing experience and the perfect opportunity for me to give drifting a shot!  Although I didn’t win the show, it did open several doors for me as well as light the fire of interest in driving drift cars… In addition, all of my racing from the local 600 Racing organization allowed me to earn my NASA Provision Competition Race License.

In March, I was given another amazing opportunity by my good friend and fellow Southern California racer, Donn Vickrey owner of Competition Classics.  Donn contacted me over facebook asking if I would be interested in racing his spec Boxster Porsche in the NASA So Cal region.  This could not have been more perfect timing because I had just earned my race license and with his help I would be able to get some more races in before the season with Scion started back up.  We raced at Auto Club Speedway and I placed 3rd on Saturday and 2nd on Sunday, a very rewarding and exciting weekend as a rookie driver. Race: 3rd & 2nd place

April brought even more good news to my race season.  I was honored to be invited to the fifth annual Modified Magazine Tuner Shootout as the first female to ever compete.  This event was the first time I met and got into the seat of the Dynamic Autosports Scion Racing tC.  After the 2011 season I was placed on this new team to compete in a different tC that was fully prepared for wheel to wheel racing and equipped with a turbo charger!  This was overwhelmingly wonderful news; I was solid with Scion for another year of racing with a new team, new car, and actually racing!  The shootout was held in Arizona, as always, and we placed 2nd in the front wheel drive class! http://youtu.be/WWKS_kwk_ek

In May we started our racing series with MotoIQ, a unique class within NASA So Cal.  There were 8 races throughout the year and we finished 3rd in the first two rounds.  We had a lot of testing and set up to experiment with, but we progressed every session on the track.  http://youtu.be/G3bsdpHTH1g

Also, Donn Vickrey continued to stay in contact with me and I ran another race with him at Willow Springs International Raceway, where I experience my first race with contact!  You can see in the videos how it ended up!  http://youtu.be/1DeNcXfSZa0 Although a scary experience, definitely one which I learned a lot from.

In July and August, I was approached for some really exciting media opportunities.  PBS found me through my AbbateMotorsports.com website asking if they could shoot a short documentary about how it is to be a female in a male driven sport and what it takes to get there.  This should be coming out fairly soon! It was a fun segment to shoot.  In addition, Scion put together a commercial and wanted to feature me in it as well.  This was a HUGE opportunity and it airs on national television!  Definitely awesome to get random texts  from friends saying they just spotted me on TV!  You can see the commercial here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrrmTXAZHk0  We also had rounds 2 and 3 of the MotoIQ series where we raced at Auto Club Speedway and I placed 2nd in both races.  Check out the video from the event where I talk a little about our race car:  http://youtu.be/z_bKeeegBn0

In September I did something I have sworn over the years that I would never do…  I sold my beloved Mazdaspeed Protege.  Without going into too much detail, it was time for someone else to enjoy that car that I loved so much.  It’s new home is in Salt Lake City, UT where it’s new owner has big plans for a race build.  In addition, I also started my new job;  I am the Assistant Operation Manager at the Macy’s at the Fashion Show mall here in Las Vegas.  It is one of the top 5 profitable Macy’s in the nation!

September also brought one of the most controversial rounds in our MotoIQ series.  You can read the whole story on my blog, but to save some trees, we caught the untouchable competitor cheating.  He was hit with a surprise dyno while we were at Sonoma Raceway and he put numbers over 30hp what he was supposed to be.  This allowed for a swing in points and even though I could not finish the 6th round due to a mechanical failure I still took the lead in points by 7.  Anything can happen in racing!

November brought our Scion Racing season to a close; but that’s not to say it wasn’t a very interesting year.  As the MotoIQ rounds continued, our last race meant the championship to us, literally.  Round 7 caught us by surprise with a major loss in power.  We had a lose injector wire which flooded the engine, but there were other cars in our same race that had worse mechanical issues.  We did in fact finish the race while at a slow pace but it put us in front of the cars we had to beat to stay in the championship.  Our final round, luck was on our side and we did what we had to and finished with just a one point difference in front of our class!  This has been one of my biggest moments in racing!  My rookie year I stayed on the podium all year and finished strong as the first and only female to compete and win the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championships!

And well, that’s my year in about 2 pages!  Recently on Cyber Monday I launched my brand new racing website, you can see it at: M1cheleAbbate.com.   You’ll find my blog, pictures, and more information that is updated constantly!

I hope you enjoyed this short read and I wish you the very best over the holidays and into the new year!  Remember, always chase your dreams. You get out of it what you put into it and where there is a will there is a way!