A local Junior Dragster put the pedal to the metal in her first complete year of racing around the Southeast to win in a close championship.
Maddie-Kate Halsey, 9, finished first in the 12.90 Index Championship after a final round face-off with the runner up, Issac Evans.
"We're very proud of her," Jeff Halsey, Maddie-Kate's father, said.
Maddie-Kate and her family were honored with a trophy and a banquet in Tennessee on Oct. 30.
There were nearly 150 people in attendance to honor all of the winners in the different classes of the Southeast Junior Racing Association, Jeff Halsey said.
"It came down to the last round in the last race," he said, "and it was a nailbiter."
The association presented Maddie-Kate with a custom-made trophy for her championship victory.
"It's like marble, and it has their logo on it," Jeff Halsey said. "It's a really cool looking trophy."
But according to Maddie-Kate, the prizes and trophies aren't the best part. Her favorite aspects of racing are "competing with others and going really fast," she said.
"She's just happy-go-lucky," friend of the family Mendy Parker said. "She doesn't make a big deal when she wins, and she doesn't make a big deal if she loses, either."
Nate Halsey, Maddie-Kate's brother, just turned 8 and is looking forward to entering the racing scene to join in with the family tradition.
The kids have been involved with racing in part because of their father's love and participation in the sport.
"My husband has drag raced for years and years," Lovelle Halsey, Maddie-Kate's mother, said. "Even before he and I started dating, he was drag racing."
Jeff Halsey has been racing since his high school days, Mendy Parker said.
"He's been like a brother to me," Parker said, "and my dad had a race car. So they just did it for fun and would go race it on the weekends."
Because of this, drag racing has been a significant part of Maddie-Kate's life, from infancy to the present.
"From the time they were babies," Lovelle Halsey said, "we would all go to the track when there was a drag race."
"Every year, we'd take her to the Southern Nationals, and she just took interest in it from that."
And it truly is a family affair.
The whole gang acts as a makeshift race crew for Maddie-Kate and Nate.
"Jeff does all of the mechanical work," Lovelle Halsey said. "He's like the crew chief."
Lovelle keeps an eye out for the safety of the children.
"I make sure that they're all buckled in the correct way with all of the safety equipment," she said. "They even have to wear a fire-retardant outfit."
The Halsey family owns and operates all of the equipment used, from the car to the helmets.
While they don't have any sponsors for their racing endeavors, they're hoping to get a sponsor or two to help them continue racing in the future, according to Parker.
They're not going to stop racing, however, because it's a fun family activity.
Ultimately, it's for the enjoyment of all of the kids involved, Jeff Halsey said, "but you always want your kid to win."
"I'd like for all of the kids to win, but they just can't do that."