Rev Racing history will be made once again at the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV200 “Honoring America’s Veterans” race at Phoenix International Raceway this Saturday, November 8th. Fresh off of her second consecutive NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season, Mackena Bell will be making her debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Rick Ware Racing. The only female graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program will pilot the No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro.
While Saturday’s race is not a means to an end, Bell has worked her entire life for the opportunity to display her skills in a nation series race. The magnitude of this opportunity is not lost on the young driver, and Bell is as humble as she is determined.
“It’s a step and it may be a step I never get to take again. Rides are hard to come by in this sport without significant backing, wealthy families or big name connections, so it’s awesome to be able to say I will have a NASCAR Nationwide start under my belt,” said Bell.
The 24 year old Carson City, Nevada native puts a tremendous amount of pressure on herself. It’s no secret that she’s one of very few women participating at one of the higher levels in the sport of NASCAR and Bell constantly feels overshadowed by the notion that she’s a female amongst men. So much so, that she takes it upon herself every race to not just compete, but also make a statement that she’s not a female driver but just another competitor. Over the years the pressure she’s put on herself has increased and she’s admittedly lost the child-like passion for racing that she grew up with.
Living one’s dream isn’t always easy as the line between pleasure and business can easily be blurred. In a sponsor-dominated sport such as NASCAR, the business side sadly wins out more times than not and after years of experiencing both the ups and downs of the sport, Bell forgot how much fun this sport can be. However, securing this NASCAR Nationwide ride has seemed to reignite the passion inside of her.
“I’m just going to enjoy every minute of it. For so long, I’ve put so much pressure on myself to do something, to prove something, that I’ve not always enjoyed the ride. This race will be different. I’m going to enjoy this opportunity and learn as much as possible. This series is very competitive and there are a lot of teams with huge sponsors and great backing. Running for a little team gives you the chance to just take it all in, experience the differences and not feel the pressure, or expectation of setting the world on fire. I’m really looking forward to it.”
This ride has given her the reassurance that she needed. The reassurance that she was born to be a racecar driver. The reassurance that all of the hard work she’s put in over the last 13 years has not been in vein. Bell enters this Saturday’s race with nothing to prove, and everything to gain. It’s an experience she plans to relish in and she is hopeful it may open doors to the next stages of her career.