In the Pits with Marissa Sawin
Fresh for this season, Marissa Sawin has a new paint scheme and carries her father’s number. She has set her sights on winning a race with a 30-plus car field in 2023, with hopes to race at Irwindale Speedway and make it to Asphalt Nationals at The Bullring in Las Vegas in October.
Hometown: Snohomish, Washington
Car Number: 1
Team: Winfab Racecars
Favorite Vacation Spot: Arizona
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Movie: Days of Thunder or Breakfast Club
Favorite Food: Spaghetti
1. What sparked your interest in Racing?
My dad is late model driver and a past late model champion. He raced about 20 years.
2. What all types of racing have you competed in?
I used to race these [cars] we call youth hornets that we have up here [in Washington]. I raced those and then I got straight into Legends. I did pretty good. I won a few races in [youth hornets], but I was only in it for three years because it was a 12-14 [year old] class.
3. What is your favorite racing memory?
Beating my dad in a qualifying lap at Stateline Speedway.
4. Who is your biggest inspiration?
Jessi Combs and Brittany Zamora. I’ve always looked up to Brittany since I was a little kid. My dad used to race with her and I always thought she was super cool and professional. Jessi Combs is known as the fastest girl alive. Sadly, she did pass away doing what she loved, but I always thought she was fearless in that aspect.
5. If you pulled into victory lane right now who all would you thank?
My sponsor Mr. Dizzy Motorsports and my dad.
6. Outside of racing, what other hobbies or activities are you involved in?
I golf sometimes and like to walk and hangout with my dogs. I have a Husky-Border Collie mix and an Aussie.
7. Anywhere special you want to race at in 2023?
I want to go to The Bullring (Las Vegas) really bad. We’re planning on making Asphalt Nationals. Nationals and Irwindale. My dad raced at Irwindale and said it was really fun track. I watch a lot of races at The Bullring and it just looks like a really fun track to race.
8. Who is your favorite race car driver?
9. Do you have any pre-race rituals or something you must do on race day?
I listen to a lot of music and I have to make sure all my stuff is in the correct spot otherwise I get really anxious about it. Like, my safety gear has to be in all the right spot inside the trailer. I listen to country music a lot before a race.
10. What is your dream street car?
A ’78 Camaro, because they’re just really cool and they seem to be pretty fast.
11. What is one random fact about you that others may be surprised to learn?
I am really good at animal science.
12. Why the number and paint scheme change for 2023?
I bought the car how it was previously being run and I thought it was a cool scheme as it was. My dad used to be the number one with the star through it and I wanted to switch to that. And my favorite color is pink.
13. Why did you run the 35 before?
I honestly just thought it looked cool and it was just one less thing we had to switch over when we bought the car. We sold the original car I started in a few years ago, we have new cars now, but we had the [artwork] file from the previous owner and kept using it.
14. If you could go back and tell your rookie self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would say just respect the people who came before you, let them do their thing and your time will come. If you’re going to jump into a class that has grown adults in there, respect them first and figure out how to drive out of their way. If you’re in their way, they’re not going to have the respect to give you once your time to be passing them.
15. What is your ultimate racing dream?
I want to win a big late model race, like the Summer Showdown at Evergreen [Speedway]. If there is a career opportunity out of [racing] I’d love to do it, but at the moment I’m already pushing myself towards making a career out of something else. If the opportunity fell on my lap I would totally do it without a second thought.
16. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in the racing world?
Being a woman is kind of tough sometimes, but I just think of the girls that are looking up right now wanting to do what I’m doing and hope that someday they will start racing and make it known it’s not just a man’s sport anymore. At fan fest up at Evergreen, I get a lot of little girls come up to me saying I want to race cars. I’m like, ‘Go for it!’
17. Have you had any heartbreaks behind the wheel of a race car?
I got pretty badly wrecked last year and had to come back from that. It was hard but also had to think I can’t just give up because I got dumped into a wall. I have to at least prove that guy wrong.
18. What are your 2023 racing goals and what do you hope to achieve?
I’m hoping to win a race in a competitive field. I’ve won races over at Stateline (ID) where there’s only six cars and they are decently competitive, but I want to win a race that has a field of 34 (cars) like there is at Evergreen.
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