Devlyn Brooks, Published September 07 2009
Drive to succeed: Fargo’s Sather teaches in NASCAR diversity program
Now she’s teaching those lessons to NASCAR.
Sather’s first season in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity has been a huge success. She has not finished outside of the top 10 in any race this season.
“It’s been a learning process, and I’m taking in as much experience as I can,” Sather said. “I’ve been blessed with this opportunity, and I’ve learned so, so much from it.
“I’ve had to prove myself. I’ve shoed that I’m here and I’m serious.”
Sather was one of 12 drivers chosen for the program, and the 24-year-old from Fargo has been racing at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. – a suburb of Seattle.
The sprint car driver was raised in racing on dirt tracks, so there was some adjustment that went along with learning how to drive the Super Late Model on the asphalt track.
The biggest switch was with the body of the cars. The closed cockpits were something new to Sather.
“There’s a lot of banging that goes on, and that’s not something that happens with the open-wheeled (sprint) cars,” Sather said. “In my first race, we hadn’t even taken the green flag and I said to my crew chief ‘These guys are nuts!’
“They were bumping into each other before the race even started. It was different, but I’ve had a lot of great people to help me with the transition.”
Sather has one victory this summer – and is one of only two Driver for Diversity drivers to win a race this season.
That win came on June 27, and it didn’t come the way she thought it would.
At the mid-season championship at the track, a hole had opened up in the asphalt on the front stretch. Sather was leading, but afterjust five laps, officials called the race. Two days later, Sather was declared the winner.
“When you get a win, it’s a win, but that’s not exactly they way I wanted it,” Sather said with a laugh. “You’ll lose more like that than you’ll win, so I’ll take it, I guess.”
Even though it’s her only win this season, Sather said the highlight of her season came the following week – when she finished second.
“I know it sounds weird because we didn’t win, but I started in the middle of the pack and raced my way up there,” Sather said. “I made some good passes and really worked to get up there.
“That’s one I really feel like I earned.”
Her schedule consists of 19 dates, and there are two races left on Sept. 12 and 19.
While she admitted that she’s enjoying living in Seattle, her season on the asphalt caused her to get a little homesick for the dirt tracks.
“I miss the community of (dirt-track racing),” Sather said. “It’s always so much fun, but this is the direction I want to go.”
After the season is finished, she said she would try and go through the Drive for Diversity again next year and “see what happens.”
“If I’m selected again next year, that’s awesome. If not, I’ll still keep pursuing this,” Sather said. “You have to keep a level head, because there are only so many spots available in those top series. I’ll keep working hard.
“I think I have the potential to move up to one of the touring series. That’s my dream.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548