FROM DIVING TO DRIVING
OHS senior Gabbie Poole excels not only at swimming, but she also races dragsters. She has been hitting the track since she was 8 years old. Submitted photo
-Gabbie Poole, Swimmer & Dragster
As a diver on the Owatonna High School swimming team, speed is not of utmost concern for senior captain Gabbie Poole. In her other sport, time takes on more importance. Most Sundays, Poole races dragsters. She’s been doing so since she was 8 years old.
Her grandpa sparked her interest, “I was watching racing with my grandpa on TV, and we saw these junior dragsters and you could start when you’re 8 years old. So, we were like, ‘Well, that looks like something I would like to do.’ And we talked to dad and we talked to mom.”
They said, “Well, let’s get her in a car.”
The concept was not foreign.
“My whole family has been big on cars and racing. When my dad was younger, he raced snowmobiles and dirt bikes and dirt track,” said Poole. “I guess I was just born into that kind of family where racing was just kind of our thing. I’ve been riding four-wheelers and dirt bikes since I could walk.”
Now Poole drives a junior dragster that’s half-scale or about six-feet long. But that’s not all, “I also race a Ford Lightning. It’s a red truck that I race. Because now that I’m 16 I have my license, I can get into a big car. So I race that too.”
And she’s had success.
“I’ve been track champion in points for like five years in a row now.”
Poole is not only a driver, but helps with repair. “Drag racing was the first time I started monkeying around with [mechanics],” Poole said. “We got two dragsters at first and we combined them together to make my first car. And we’ve had a bunch of problems and fixed them and a bunch of motors. And we’ve tried a bunch of different things to make them work.”
The sport has led Poole around the country to 25-plus states. She went to Colorado for a national event this summer. She said it went pretty well, but “It was rough because it was in Colorado. So my car wasn’t used to the elevation there…My car didn’t run perfectly. We had fun and did our best.”
Her home track is in Litchfield and she spends plenty of time there. “From the time it stops snowing until the time it starts snowing,” she said.
“Honestly the atmosphere there is just great. Everyone’s just like a big family. And just the adrenaline of going down the track and when the ‘win’ light turns on it’s amazing.”
Her diving career might end after this season, but Poole’s driving career will continue, “For sure. Dad and Grandpa have already been experimenting with different sorts of cars they want to get me in the future,” she said.
Poole is also excited for her senior season on the swim and dive team and adding some new dives to her routine. Hear more about that from her and fellow captains senior Anna Youngquist and juniors Shelby Born and Vanessa Gonzalez on the OwatonnaLive.com Coaches Show.