Making her first laps on track this season at Sunset Speedway, Aundrea Lusk improved throughout the season to leave a lasting impression on her rookie campaign.
“Looking back on the season makes me feel grateful for how far I have come,” she told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “Most people don’t realize that prior to my racing career, I had absolutely no practice, no seat time, and had never driven standard before. My first race was my first time in the car and my first time on the track. I set very little goals each week considering my experience and amount of seat time, and each week I’d reach those goals. Looking back, I am able to see how much I was able to improve and how my confidence grew as a driver.”
Throughout the season, she continued to get faster en route to finishing fourth in the Bone Stock standings and capping off the year with season-best performances.
“The last two nights of racing for me, were my career best,” she said. “The second last night of racing I finished around eighth in a deep field of cars which was a big accomplishment for me. I wanted to end my season off strong so I decided not to run (the) Velocity (250) and have Cameron (McGlashan) run the car instead. Cameron was going to run double duty with his mini stock, so I took the bone stock out in practice. The car was a rocket in practice, so as a team we decided to go for it. I was pretty discouraged after my heats as they didn’t go exactly as I had hoped. We knew we had a fast car and it was tough having the finishes we did in the heats.
“At that point, I was still debating whether to let Cameron drive the car or not. I decided to go for it in the feature, and looking back today, I am so happy that I did. I started 11th in the feature and raced hard to finish in the fourth spot. That’s a huge accomplishment for me and my team. The best part of that finish was seeing my whole team run down in excitement. I am so excited to see what’s in store for next year after my few race finishes.”
While she experienced success on track, the bigger surprise was seeing how many people were supporting her, including complete strangers that would approach her to tell her they were watching her, and how well she was doing.
Now moving forward to 2018, Lusk says the focus is improving her confidence as a driver, as she said sometimes she’d psych herself out last year due to being a new driver.
“Towards the end of the season I gained more confidence, and you could definitely see that reflect on the track,” she said. “I need to work on being more comfortable being around other cars on the track. As a new driver, I would often give up positions and let the more experienced drivers go. This year, I was able to prove my abilities as a driver and next year I will come back as a more experienced driver, taking more risks on the racetrack.”
While she’s new behind the wheel, racing isn’t something that she’s just come across recently as she has spent her whole life going to events at Barrie Speedway and Sunset Speedway, watching her uncles, cousins, and family friends compete.
“My family is full of racers and it’s something that I have wanted to since before I can even remember,” she said. “When I was little, racing was all I wanted to do. In kindergarten we would present to the class what we wanted to be when we grew up. Most kids picked doctor or firefighter, I still have the paper that says I want to be a racecar driver when I grow up. When I got older, I didn’t really think racing was something I’d be able to do, so I kind of gave up the idea of it. When we saw that the bone stock division didn’t have a lot of cars this season, I said to my dad let’s put something together and see what we can do.”
Her racing hero is actually one of the drivers who competes at Sunset Speedway, her cousin Late Model driver Al Inglis.
“I spent my whole life watching and cheering for Al,” she commented. “We would travel everywhere Allan was racing to watch. Allan has made many accomplishments in the racing world and it great to have someone in my family like that to look up to.”