Meet Tonya Pennington – Ms. September 2016

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Photo Credit: Hasting’s Creative Images

Car Chix is proud to have Tonya Pennington as an Official Member of Car Chix.  Tonya Pennington placed in the top 12 of the 2015 Car Chix Women of Motorsports Contest (Read: Car Chix Women of Motorsports Contest Breaks the Internet); — Earning her spot as Ms. September of the Bonne Terre Drag Strip sponsored month of the 2016 Car Chix Calendar.

Tonya Pennington is a female drag racer from Farmington, Missouri.  She races a 1986 Foxbody Ford Mustang with a small block Ford (yesss!). In addition to Car Chix, Tonya Pennington is affiliated with US3S, Missouri Hotrods and STL Mustangs.  When you can’t find her selling quality automobiles at Auto Plaza Ford Fredericktown or helping individuals with Autism at Visions of Hope, you will find her burning up rubber at her hometown track, Bonne Terre Drag Strip located in Bonnee Terre, Missouri!

“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” – Tonya Pennington

Tonya’s love for cars and racing began at a very young age.  When most little girls were trucking around barbie dolls and dream houses, Tonya was collecting Hot Wheels. “They all had a name,  all had their assigned spot in my car cases that I toted everywhere with me,” explained Tonya Pennington. Clearly, Tonya’s fine organizational skills began at a young age as well.

Shortly after Tonya obtained her very first Mustang, she was involved in a terrible accident.  The Doctors told Tonya she would never walk again.  However, with hope, determination and hours and hours of physical, occupational and speech therapy; Tonya defied all odds.  Near the end of Tonya’s recovery, she met her husband and fellow car junkie, Keith!  The two were inseparable as they attended car meets, car shows, etc.  Sadly, this all came to a sudden end when Keith gained his angel wings while battling cancer.

“Life never looks the same when you lose a significant other, but I was even more determined to live life to the fullest for me and our sons,” Tonya says,”I was inspired to not wait for life just to be over and then realize that I never truly lived.”

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Photo Credit: Hasting’s Creative Images

Sometime after Keith’s passing, Tonya bought her first racecar and began going to the track.  It was through racing that Tonya found herself again and also met someone to share her racing passion with, her husband today, Wayne.  Together, Tonya and Wayne began achieving racing goals that, for Tonya, seemed more of fantasy than anything that would ever become a reality.  This was the start to Pennington Racing.

“God’s plans are ALWAYS bigger and better than what we can imagine for ourselves,” says Tonya Pennington.

Some of the things that Tonya loves about racing are the feelings you get from going from 0 to 100+mph in a matter of seconds, along with the ability of being able to clear you head, focus and escape and the feeling of family. “My focus is where I want my car to end at, no thinking about the dangers – only forward thinking, focusing on the outcome,” Tonya explains,”more important than the immediate gratification is the extended family that the car world has surrounded me with.  Car people are some of the most passionate people I have ever met! The friendships built over the years and the continued new ones, as well, never cease to amaze me.”

We asked if she had any advice to share with other women that are either involved or are interested in getting involved with motorsports.  Not only does her response apply to women in motorsports, we feel that it applies to men and women in life in general.

“You will never sense fulfillment in life unless you reach the goal of being yourself.  Do not be in competition with others; just concentrate on fulfilling your potential,” Tonya says,”Allow yourself the grace to grow and evolve through your own personal journey.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life.”  Tonya continued,”As I’ve grown as a racer, as a mom, as a wife, and more importantly as a person, my views on so many things have evolved as I’ve been faced with new challenges, new oppositions, and new lessons.    As long as we continue to learn we never stop becoming a better version of ourselves!of who we once were.”

We could not have said it any better ourselves.  Tonya Pennington is a true inspiration to men and women everywhere.  Through her stories and experiences..  we hope that her feature speaks to you.  We look forward to seeing where Tonya goes this next season.  Thank you Tonya!

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