Racing at the Byron Dragway is a major part of the summer for a lot of folks around Northern Illinois and beyond. It’s a special place for one 20-year old Winnebago woman Kamryn Mason who recently had a race there that she’ll never forget.
“This is my 1997 Camaro. I got it when I was 17, so I’ve had it for three years,” said Mason.
Don’t let the girly pink color fool you. This car has hit a high speed of 120 miles per hour on a quarter mile strip. And earlier this month at the Byron Dragway Kamryn Mason climbed into this car and won the Super Pro class of the Firecracker Brackett Nationals. In the finals she defeated one of the more accomplished racers in the country Gary Williams of Bradenton, Florida. The payoff for the win was a $30,000 check.
“It was a little intimidating,” says Mason of racing against Williams. “He just gave me a hug and he said, ‘Good job.”
“It was pretty satisfying to watch her, see her win at something she’s worked so hard at,” said Mason’s father Richard.
Richard Mason is a drag racer himself. Kamryn fell in love with racing when she was little following and watching her father race. Richard was more than happy to make her passion for racing happen.
“I got my first car when I was eight,” says Kamryn. “My dad actually got it when I was in California and he surprised me when we got home.”
Kamryn started off racing junior dragsters and then moved up to street cars before making the jump to Super Pros. There are a lot of women involved in drag racing, but some people are still surprised when Kamryn tells them what she does.
“They don’t actually believe me when I’m like, ‘Oh, I drag race.’ “They’re like, ‘Oh, you just go?’ and I’m like, ‘No I actually drive the car.”
In addition to racing at Byron, Kamryn has raced at Cordova International north of the Quad Cities, and in Martin, Michigan, Indianapolis and Cedar Falls, Iowa.
When she’s not racing she’s working as a fulltime EMT at Superior Ambulance and as a volunteer fire fighter and EMT for the Win-Bur-Sew fire protection district. Her co-workers are all fans of hers.
“They all support me, especially my chief Martin.”
So what does Kamryn see in her future five years from now?
“There’s a lot of things I would like to be doing. Racing-wise I would like to either keep this car and keep moving forward racing in more divisional races or if something else came up I would like to drive anything.:”
“I don’t see why she couldn’t win more of these races,” says Richard Mason. “I think she’s got the talent and the drive to do it.”