Join us in welcoming Debbie Blagg as an Official Car Chix Member! Debbie Blagg competed and finished in the top 12 of the 2020 Women of Motorsports Contest to earn her spot as Ms. March in the Atturo Tires sponsored month of the 2021 Car Chix Calendar.
DEBBIE BLAGG BIO
NICKNAME: Bug Lady or Speed Racer
PHOTO CREDITS FOR SUBMITTED PHOTOS: Car: Mr. Fabulous Photography, Alan Smith // Headshot: Jennifer Pizano
PROFESSION: Project Manager…it’s a tough job ordering and organizing all the car parts for my husband to install on the race car!
YOUR VEHICLES (in photo): 1968 Mercy Cougar XR7
MOTOR/SPECS: Ford 302 – bored and honed out to 363/540 hp
RACING CLASS/TEAM/DIVISION: Sportsman (Street) – RHobby Racing – Division 5 of IHRA Summit SuperSeries Bracket
HOMETOWN: Union Grove, Wisconsin
HOMETRACK: Great Lakes Dragaway
PERSONAL WEBSITE/FANPAGE: Rhobby Racing @ Facebook
CLUBS/AFFLIATIONS/SPONSORS: Classis American Muscle Car Association, Milwaukee Area Volkswagen Club, MOFOCO Bugfest, Ladies Night at Great Lakes Dragaway, Import Wars, Member of IHRA and Car Chix, The Mercury Cougar Club and Mercury Cougars 1967-1973
Presently, looking for 2021 season sponsors
2nd Place in the 2019 Car Chix Ladies Only Bracket Race Anarchy No Prep
Finished in the top 10 or above in a field of 30+ cars – 4 seasons in a row for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries bracket program at Great Lakes Dragaway.
Raced 5 different cars in 8 years – 3 stick shift cars: ‘74 VW bug, ‘67 VW Bug, 2015 VW Dragster Automatics: 2017 Dodge Challenger to present – 1968 Mercury Cougar with Cheetah Shifter.
Started racing in 2012 with a 17 second car and finished 2020 in a 12 second street car.
Placed 6th in Top 12, among 273 entries in Car Chix Women In Motorsports 2021 calendar contest
SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: First season racing with the Classic American Muscle Association at special event Nitrous Street Car Brawls, every 3rd Saturday of the month, and also Labor Day Time Machine Nationals at Great Lakes Dragaway. Had so much fun running with this group – 1st time launching from a Pro Tree, I definitely need more practice on that tree! 😊
Ran 4 consecutive 11 second runs in one afternoon – 11.92, 11.87,11.99 and 11.77 with the Cougar.
FAVORITE QUOTE/SAYING: The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best Today.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH AUTOMOBILES/MOTORSPORTS: From a young age, I was always interested in cars especially loud and fast ones! At the age of 12, I had a job picking beans at a vegetable farm, did babysitting on weekends and before I turned 16, I bought my first car – a 1962 Chevy Biscayne. I was only able to drive the car with a licensed adult driver because I only had a learner’s permit. In 1973, I started a job at McDonalds and was able to buy my second car, a 1968 Mercury Cougar. I met my husband in 1975 and it was a perfect match from the beginning because we both loved cars and racing. He bought his first race car, a VW powered mini Funny Car in 1978 for $3,800 which also came with a 2 place snowmobile trailer. Bill and I were off to the races whenever time and money permitted. I became even more inspired with racing when I met Shirley Muldowney personally while she was racing at Great Lakes Dragaway and Janet Guthrie at a road racing event in Georgia.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH AUTOMOBILES/MOTORSPORTS: I actually got a late start with racing yet as they say, “Better late than never!” On June 28th, 2012 I made my first pass down the drag strip in a 1974 VW bug. My husband had traded his 502 big block Chevy motor for the ‘74 bug and together, we spent 4 years customizing the car. One day we cruised over to the track and I asked Bill if I could try drag racing. With my husband as my co-pilot and instructor, I went for my first run and had a time of 20.17 seconds @ 67.21 mph. I have never forgotten Randy Henning’s (one of the owners of GLD) quote “Debbie, your first pass down the track will always be your slowest and the one you will remember forever.” Boy was Randy right! The second pass, I went solo and as Bill instructed me, “Now get on the gas this time!” – I ran an 18.07 @ 86.53. After that moment, I was truly bitten by the racing bug and as my husband says even today, “I created a monster that day!”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT AUTOMOBILES/MOTORSPORTS: I love how cars and car events can bring people of all ages together and from all corners of the world. On any given day, you never know who you will meet yet you all have something in common and can enjoy the day together. Fellow racers, track personnel, the fans and vendors all become like extended family and the track becomes a very unique community of people. If you need a push, a part, help in the staging lanes/ on the line or even a bottle of water or food – there is always someone willing to lend you a hand!
WHAT IS YOUR BEST CAR/RACING/MOTORSPORTS RELATED MEMORY: My most memorable evening of racing came on August 1st, 2012 (my 55th birthday) – I won my “very first” Ladies Night Bracket race and was presented a beautiful plaque! I had only started racing 2 months prior to that evening and was still learning about dial-in’s, reaction times and basically, how to shift a 4 speed car as fast as possible and not grind or miss a gear! Going into the finals, I remember my heart pounding and my legs were shaking so bad, I could hardly keep the clutch engaged on the line. I dialed in with a 17.39 and ran a 17.394 @ 74.27 mph with a .173 reaction time. I was truly overrun with emotions that night. Quite an exhilarating experience being able to share my “first win” with my husband, our adult children, close friends and fellow racers. Everyone was so happy and having such a great time…that’s what I remember the most from that night. Smiles per Miles has been my motto ever since.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST CAR/RACING/MOTORSPORTS RELATED MEMORY: I was racing my 1967 VW drag bug (not a street car), the car left the line great and all gears appeared to be shifting on point. As I went thru the traps at the top end, I touched the brakes and the pedal went all the way to the floor. I tried pumping the brakes and NOTHING was there. My brakes had gone completely out! I knew I couldn’t grab the emergency brake or down shift going at that rate of speed so I started saying a few prayers and yes, even a few choice words as the car headed towards the end of the track. A place I had never been before. I had 2 tires on the pavement and 2 tires in the grass when I took the corner of the 2nd turn off – what a ride that was!! I found out really quickly that a car with a “spooled rear end” does not make sharp turns easily.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR NEXT SEASON: My goals are not to break any parts on the car yet as we all know with racing; something is bound to happen! Seriously, I want keep learning about the car, see where the Cougar can take us in other events and keep having fun. The majority of my 8 years in racing have been spent running 4 cylinder, air cooled Imports and shifting 4 gears via a clutch. Driving the Cougar is an entirely different animal and one I am very much looking forward to taming!
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR REACHING YOUR GOALS: Keeping myself and my husband healthy so we can keep up with the pace of working on the car, racing and enjoying each day to the fullest. Most people aren’t aware of this – I have a life threatening allergy to bees, one sting and it could easily turn fatal. I carry 2 EpiPen’s at all times, a bug zapper and basically, after using both Epis, I have 15 minutes to get medical attention – it’s a real race against the clock too. I would like to give a huge shout out to everyone at Great Lakes Dragaway for being the “most caring, supportive” people and always having my back with those darn bees. There is even a small group of fellow racers called the “Bee Squad” who literally arm themselves with bug zappers, wasp spray and even go as far as joining me in the trailer when I have to stay inside a screened tent. The owners and entire staff of GLD are also so very helpful keeping me safe. My loving husband and all the caring people at Great Lakes Dragaway are the reason I am able to continue racing and not sitting in the house most of the year. Some people have asked me, “If your allergy is that severe, why take the chance?” Well, if I don’t keep racing, I will end up sitting in the house until winter time and would most likely be rather difficult to live with! To us, drag racing keeps us sane and gives us an outlet to those daily stresses. Usually any racer can confirm, that racing on a daily or weekly basis is the best therapy – best medicine you can have – you are outside and among family, friends, fans and cars!
ANY BIG MODS OR BUILDS GOING ON DURING THE OFF SEASON: No big mods, just more interior work – we have a few more gauges to install, we ran the car last year with bare bones interior, in case we needed to make further modifications. This winter we will install carpeting, new gas tank, electric water pump and put the car through a complete check up to make sure everything is in good working order.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER HOBBIES OR PASSIONS: Spending time with family & friends, and writing poetry are at the top of my other passions. The Car Chix calendar contest was an awesome experience and showed me that I have a lot more to learn about computers and social media so those two areas may very well become new hobbies for me in the near future.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP SONGS FOR WHEN YOU ARE DOING CARS THINGS / RACING: I like to listen to the Oldies or pop rock music when working on the car, my husband prefers no music so we can communicate to each other so we compromise “no music” while working together. I can honestly say, I have never listened to any music in the staging lanes or while racing. I’ve only had 1 car with a radio and I found the touch screen in that car to distracting so I always turned it off.
IF YOU GOT A MILLION DOLLARS TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT? My husband and I have talked about this numerous times over the years – we would like to build a place where young children, from large cities, could come out for a day and experience country things such as horse back riding, fishing, rowing a boat, learning to ride a dirt bike or sitting around a camp fire roasting marshmallows.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS, WEBSITES OR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES THAT YOU FOLLOW? The Samba – Racing Junk – Facebook
ADVICE TO OTHER WOMEN IN MOTORSPORTS OR WOMEN INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED IN MOTORSPORTS: Everyone starts somewhere and the real beauty about drag racing is that you don’t have to start with a big buck, big horse powered car – drag racing is about being as consistent as possible from point A to point B. Now, if someone offers to write the checks and provide you with a car – well, you could certainly be in for a ride of a lifetime! Embrace each opportunity as they come and just keep having FUN!
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE CAR CHIX COMMUNITY: “Treat others as you would like to be treated” – competition can be fierce; good sportsmanship speaks volumes of one’s character and can hold just as much value as a win.