While most drivers grow up dreaming of racing in NASCAR, Taylor Robbins grew up dreaming of just winning a race at Bowman Gray Stadium. On Saturday night, her dream came true as she scored a victory cheered on by thousands of die-hard race fans.
The victory was a long time coming for the 22-year-old from Winston Salem, North Carolina, who is a popular crowd favorite and the daughter of long-time Stadium veteran Brad Robbins. Robbins had been racing at the Madhouse for four years and has been so close to winning. Once she finally did win, she was as excited as someone winning the Indianapolis 500 would be.
“I’m so pumped up,” Robbins said shortly after her Street Stock victory in an interview with Short Track Scene. “I’ve wanted it for so long. I’ve come so close so many times.”
The victory means a lot to Robbins since it was a difficult road traveled. In 2013, Robbins saw a surefire win slip away when the caution came out just as she exited turn four on the last lap, setting up a restart that became her undoing.
“I was coming out of the fourth turn to get the checkers and they threw the caution, which they weren’t supposed to do,” Robbins recalled of that near-victory in 2014. “On the restart, I spun and it messed me up.”
Robbins, who has raced in Bowman Gray Stadium’s Sportman and Street Stock divisions, has had good runs slip away in other races throughout her career by either getting caught up in some of the usual calamity that occurs at the Madhouse or being taken out by other competitors.
“It was like a weekly thing. This year’s starting out pretty good though. I think we’ve calmed down.”
This time, the result was different. Robbins started the race in the second position, took the lead at the start of the race and survived four restarts, leading wire-to-wire.
“It means so much to win,” Robbins exclaimed. “Like, my guys and my dad, they’ve worked hard. I know I have a fast car. Just always getting wrecked. To finally do it for my guys and family, it means a lot after all they’ve worked to help me get here.”
As Robbins climbed out of her car in victory lane, realizing her dream, she was greeted by the cheers of thousands of fans in the stands at NASCAR racing’s oldest and most historic short track.
“It is awesome,” Robbins stated enthusiastically. “To know like all the people who have raced there and won, that place is so cool. The crowd was awesome tonight. The atmosphere. It was cool, really cool. I don’t even know what I said in victory lane, I was too excited. It’s the best night of my life. I can’t think of a better night I’ve ever had – this topped it.”
Now that she has her first win, Robbins wants more victories. But, like most grassroots racers, it’s “win today, work tomorrow”.
“I’m so excited. I’ve got to be at work at 4:30 and I ain’t sleeping,” she said just hours after her win. “I’m so excited.”
The victory by Robbins was as historic as it was popular. Robbins is only the third female driver to claim a victory at Bowman Gray Stadium in its 68 year history.