sprint car driver, will be making her debut in a 360 NOSA Outlaw Sprint car this Thursday at Red River Valley Coop Speedway. Balcaen, daughter of late model and former sprint car driver, Mike Balcaen, has received many words of advice over the years from her father, including always “have fun” and “use two feet.”
Those words of advice will prove useful as Balcaen takes to the 4/10 mile, high banked Red River Valley Coop Speedway Thursday night. Balcaen has been involved in racing since the age of 10, starting in go karts. In 2008, she transitioned to lightning sprints and currently races with a 1000cc engine.
Balcaen’s opportunity to drive a car, with an increase of at least 600 horsepower over her lightning sprint, fell into place after the USAC midget she was scheduled to race was totaled by the owner the previous weekend. When her uncle, Lou Kennedy Jr, approached her about driving one of his team’s cars, Balcaen didn't hesitate’ “Absolutely. I've always wanted to drive a full sized sprint.”
Balcaen recognizes the challenges facing her moving into a full sized sprint. As “a female, I have more to prove, which I find sometimes is difficult to deal with. But when I step in the car I just have to put that all behind me.” She hopes to get more comfortable with each lap in the car. “My dad can critique my driving from there.”
The Northern Outlaw Sprint Association (NOSA) will run their first sanctioned race at the Red River Valley Coop Speedway since 2008. Grand Forks’ Mark Dobmeier captured the feature in 2008. This year, NOSA’s driver roster is filled with many new names, many of whom have a good chance of taking home the checkered flag.