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Angelle Sampey left NHRA drag racing in 2010 as a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion and never denied her achievement. However, she is much prouder of her title as “Mommy” to daughter Ava Jane, the child she had longed for, and wife to Seth Drago.
On her retail store’s Web site, Sampey described her experience as a drag-racing star as “a very exciting lifestyle” that “came at a high price.” She wrote, “I spent many years with a gaping hole in my heart, believing that being a mom and having a family of my own just wasn’t in God’s plans for me.”
To her delight, she was incorrect.
Then last month, with her daughter three and a half years old, Sampey suddenly received an offer to return to racing. She accepted and is figuring out as she goes along how to balance both worlds.
This conversation took place before the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals and offers a peek at some of the real-life scrambles and sacrifices that racers make in the course of preparing to compete in front of the public and some awareness about the unavoidable kinds of tug-o-war that pull at them.
: Does all this seem like a whirlwind to you?
ANGELLE SAMPEY: Right now I can't even think straight. I literally was almost in tears today [Wednesday, Sept. 24] because I'm not just dealing with going to back to racing as quickly as I have, but I have two businesses at home and a three-year-old. And one of my businesses I'm actually having to close so I can go back to racing. And I’m having to do it so quickly that I can’t even think. I have a girl who helps me, but she’s in college and she only works two days a week. To try to take care of all those things at once has been a little overwhelming for the last week and a half, two weeks now. My store’s going to be closed on Tuesday of next week [Sept. 30], so that’ll be one less thing on my plate and I can focus on racing.
We don’t even know if we're going to do the last two races of the year. Once the end of the season gets here and we start preparing for next year – fingers crossed that we'll get some funding for next year – by that time, things will have smoothed out here at home and I can be right back into the groove.
But if you remember my racing career in the past, I usually do my best when things are the hardest. It's kind of a good thing I'm a little overwhelmed right now, because when I get to the racetrack, it's an outlet for me.