VIDEO: Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Elaine Larsen Showing Boys How Drag Racing Is Done
By Maria Sonnenberg // March 21, 2018
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: At 51, an age when some women are considering the joys of grandmotherhood, Elaine Larsen, president of Larsen Motorsports, is out on the track with the boys, showing them how drag racing is done.
2016 PROFESSIONAL INDUCTEE
• Jet Dragster World Champion
• Co-Founder Larsen Motorsports
• Mentor, Role Model For Women
A PILE OF TROPHIES
So, what is a nice Mennonite girl like Elaine Larsen doing behind the wheel of a fire-spewing, 300-mile-per-hour, 5,500-horsepower jet dragster?
For one thing, gathering a pile of trophies. At 51, an age when some women are considering the joys of grandmotherhood, Larsen, president of Larsen Motorsports, is out on the track with the boys, showing them how drag racing is done.
Winner of the 2014 and 2015 International Hot Rod Association Jet Dragster World Championships, Larsen co-founded Larsen Motorsports with the other passion in her life, high school sweetheart and husband Chris, who is the company’s CEO.
Larsen Motorsports, which specializes in turbine-powered high-performance vehicles, is a “frequent dragster” and a very visible presence at premier races across North America.
Not bad, considering the whole thing started as a hobby in 1993.
“Drag racing was something we could afford and do together,” said Larsen.
“We bought a super gas Chevy Vega and Chris told me to jump in. I love my husband and if he was interested in racing, then I would give it a shot. We never looked back.”
At the start of the 21st Century, the Larsens felt the need for more speed.
“We put Chris’s love of aviation and my love of racing together to build our very first jet dragster, the “Miss Ta Fire” and jumped to the pro categories,” added Larsen.
The Larsens’ company is more than about racing really fast vehicles.
Yes, the Larsens are award-winning innovators in jet racing, but they are also proven leaders in community outreach, introducing motorsports career opportunities to talented young individuals, advocating for STEM proficiency and providing unique and valuable hands-on experiences to college students through their partnership with Florida Tech.
“Our passion is creating a unique hands-on training experience that will inspire the next generation of motorsports professionals,” said Larsen.
“Working with Florida Institute of Technology has enabled us to foster that spark for the next generation.”
Last year, Larsen and the Melbourne university launched the Florida Tech Jet Dragster Team to bring the science and engineering of high-tech dragsters to the school’s students, not to mention to highlight Florida Tech’s commitment to STEM education in races across the country.
Being a strong positive role model for young women is as important to Larsen as performing well on the track.
“Giving young ladies the opportunity to shine and find out what makes them special has fueled me in this industry,” said Larsen.
‘IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE’
Larsen is not ready to get out of the dragster anytime soon, but knows that beyond racing lies a new chapter of mentoring the drivers and crew of tomorrow.
She has that enviable job, one that makes a difference for future generations, yet scores high in the fun-o-meter.
“I love the way people look at me after I have made a pass, like the impossible is possible,” said Larsen.
“I love the freedom, I love the competition, I love the adrenaline, I love the ability for me to make a difference in people’s lives. I love my job!”
THE 2018 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 11.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Induction, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com