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De Soto race-car driver Mandy Chick, 22, eager for return to Kansas Speedway

Chick will drive No. 74 car in Saturday’s ARCA Menards Tide 150
Mandy Chick ARCA Menards Series driver
Mandy Chick No. 74 car ARCA Menards
Posted at 6:00 PM, May 03, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before she was even born, Mandy Chick was spending time at Kansas Speedway.

Chick’s mom, Jennifer, was pregnant with Mandy during the inaugural Truck Series race on July 7, 2001, at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in Kansas City, Kansas.

Her dad, Steve Chick Jr., was a crew chief for Aaron Daniel’s truck in that race.

He owned and operated teams in NASCAR’s Truck and Xfinity series from 2001-06, so Mandy was born into racing.

“When we were working on race cars, she always was crawling in and hanging on the steering wheel and messing around as a baby,” Steve said. “We’ve got some really cool pictures of her doing that in the Craftsman Truck stuff we owned.”

Mandy Chick as a kid
Before she was even born, Mandy Chick, 22, of De Soto, was spending time at Kansas Speedway. Now, she's become a regular driving the No. 74 car in the ARCA Menards Series at her home track.

Steve never pushed Mandy — the Chick’s only child — to race, but she developed a passion for the sport at an early age anyway and now is in her third season as a part-time driver in the ARCA Menards Series.

“I have always had the need for speed," Mandy said. “I sat in Craftsman Trucks when I was super little. I had a little Power Wheels that I burned tires off of then I had a four-wheeler. I flipped that and broke my arm at 4 years old. Then, I had a little dune buggy and stripped the gears out of that from going too fast, so I've always really had the need for speed.”

After testing out a quarter-midget race car in Topeka, Mandy begged her parents for one and started racing competitively around age 6.

“When we got out of the Truck Series in 2005-2006, I had intended to build myself another race car and she said, ‘Hey, dad, when do I get to race?’ and I was like, ‘Well, we should probably talk about that, right?’” said Steve — whose dad, Steve Chick Sr., used to race on the SCCA circuit. “At that point, it was really easy decision for me that I wanted to give her every opportunity to have a good learning curve, so we did that.”

By the time she was 12 years old, Mandy had progressed to dirt tracks and was racing Modifieds across the region at Lakeside Speedway in KCK and tracks in Grain Valley, Warrensburg and Humboldt, Kansas.

“Twelve years old, she was racing against grown men in modifieds,” Steve said with a pride-filled chuckle.

Kansas Speedway, just a few miles from where she frew up in De Soto, remained the pinnacle.

“I have, as a kid, driven by here and always dreamed of racing here,” Mandy said. “... I've been here to Kansas Speedway many, many times in my childhood. I've made so many great memories in the stands and watching races. So, to be here in the driver perspective, it’s totally different and it's really cool.”

Steve used to pick up Mandy — now 22 and a senior mechanical engineering student at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana — early from school on Kansas Speedway race weekends to take her to the track to watch practice, a mighty fine education for a future race-car driver.

Mandy Chick No. 74 car ARCA Menards
Before she was even born, Mandy Chick, 22, of De Soto, was spending time at Kansas Speedway. Now, she's become a regular driving the No. 74 car in the ARCA Menards Series at her home track.

Mandy’s racing career remains a family affair with Steve serving as crew chief, overseeing an all-volunteer crew, and Jennifer, an accountant, handling the team finances.

“When we brought Mandy here, it was really kind of fulfilling a hope or a dream that we would come back and race here again,” Steve said. “It was her — and I’ve said this all along. It has to be Mandy's desire, because, no matter how much I want to race, unless she wants to race, we're not going to do well. But she loves it, she's passionate about it and she works super hard.”

The Tide 150 Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway will be Mandy’s second ARCA Menards race of the season and the third time she’s lined up in the field.

She expects to have plenty of support in the grandstand from De Soto, the Kansas City racing community and from the region’s fire firefighters since Steve is a fire chief with Johnson County Consolidated Fire District No. 2.

“I feel like I belong here,” Mandy said. “I feel like this is my track. This is my home track. I have such a connection to it.”