Meet Tonya Pennington – Ms. September
Car Chix proudly announces Tonya pennington as Ms. September of the Bonne Terre Drag Strip sponsored month in the 2017 Car Chix Calendar. Tonya is an official member of Car Chix and was also featured in the 2016 Car Chix Calendar after winning the Car Chix Annual Women of Motorsports Contest (Read 2016 Women of Motorsports Contest Review).
“It’s better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you are not.” – Tonya Pennington
Tonya Pennington is a drag racer from Farmington, MO. Her Foxbody Mustang is absolutely gorgeous (yes, we have seen it in person). It is powered by a 408 Windsor; complete with a Powerglide and Ford 9 inch. Tonya reps #TeamPenningtonRacing and #TeamCarChix as she competes regularly in the Comp Class Brackets and Index Racing at Bonne Terre Drag Strip. Some of Tonya’s clubs, sponsors and affiliations include: Bonne Terre Drag Strip, Car Chix, Missouri Hotrods, US3S, MOStangs, Mustang & Ford Fanatics and STL Mustangs.
Some of the highlights of Tonya’s race season last year included meeting Shirley Muldowney and Don Garlits during the Car Chix Ladies Only Drag Race at the World Series of Drag Racing at Memphis International Raceway! One of the best times we ever had for sure! At this race, Tonya won 2nd Place in the Car Chix Pro Class and the year prior took 1st Place at the Car Chix Ladies Only Drag Race in Sikeston Missouri. She has also won the Women of Motorsports Competition for two consecutive years.
For Tonya, drag racing is her escape. She loves the feeling of adrenaline and the focus that comes from being behind the wheel. But most importantly, Tonya loves the family.
“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,” says Tonya.
Tonya has an amazing story…
She became involved in cars at a very young age with Hot Wheels. We all laugh now when we see children in the toy aisle, grabbing for the hot wheels. Yep — this is the start to a very expensive addiction, but some of the most exciting and loving times you will ever experience in your life. Tonya’s very first car was a Mustang — love at first chirp of the wheels. Shortly after getting her very first car, Tonya was involved in a very tragic and life changing accident.
“[I] was told I would never walk again. After a year of physical, occupational, and speech therapy and relearning so many life functions, I had defied the odds,” Tonya Pennington says,”I knew God had bigger plans for me than what the doctor’s predicted! At the end of my recovery, I met my husband, Keith.”
Just Tonya’s luck — Keith was also car enthusiast and from that day on — cars always surrounded them. For 17 years, they shared many great fond memories around motorsports and automotive activities — including: car shows, car meets and more! Sadly, in 2009, Tonya’s life was rocked once again. After battling cancer courageously for 18-months, Keith passed.
“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. I was inspired to not wait for life just to be over and then realize that I never truly lived; hence, my quest began for my very own racecar,” Tonya Pennington explained.
Shortly after purchasing her first race car, she met her current Husband, Wayne, whom shared the share car and racing passion as her. Together, Tonya and Wayne are up-stoppable. Wayne has helped Tonya achieve some personal goals and racing achievements that she never dreamed of.
“We are building Pennington Racing together and enjoying every second as a TEAM,”says Tonya,”Once again, God’s plans are ALWAYS bigger and better than what we can imagine for ourselves!”
In addition to building their racing program, Tonya is very focused on giving back to the community and helping others. Tonya created an event called ‘Autos 4 Autism’ a couple years ago. It is a fun filled drag racing event that raised money for Autism and the organization ‘Visions of Hope‘. Thus far, Tonya has helped raise over $12,000 for the cause!
“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!! 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. 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!” – Tonya Pennington
We are so proud of Tonya Pennington and everything she has accomplished. We have had the pleasure and honor of actually meeting her and racing with her. She is a great role model and one of the most genuine women we have ever met. We are grateful for her allowing us to share her powerful story and message with you all. Best wishes to Team Pennington!