Driver of the Month for July 1996

Dawn Vranas

"Racing has pretty much become my life."

Dawn represents the next generation of women race car drivers. She graduated from Kecoughtan High School, Hampton, Virginia, in June 1994 and is currently enrolled in Thomas Nelson Community College. She is an outgoing and personable individual who has represented her employers, sports and all who know her admirably. During the showing of race cars at a Loews Theatre grand opening, she was a real hit with the public. She answered questions, gave autographs and photos, and allowed many young people an opportunity to sit in a real race car.

She races Ministock at Langley Speedway, where she has a growing group of fans. Her competitors have expressed their respect for her driving skills and competitiveness. Currently she drives a Pinto, with a new car under construction. Although the Pinto isn't the fastest car on the track, she drives it to the max.

Dawn doesn't just driver the car. She has a background of mechanical skills and works hard to keep the race car on the track. She is involved with the engine building, tuning, setting up the chassis, body prep, and welding.

She has led a life of competitive sports. She started roller skating for fun and in two years (1983) entered her first artistic competition and won. She earned a spot on the Southeastern Region's team to compete in the National Championships in 1985 and continued at that level until retiring in 1994.

Her room is filled with trophies, ribbons and plaques from local, state and regional "meets", including a third place in pairs at the 1990 National Championships. She has competed in outdoor and indoor speed skating becoming quite accomplished. She has given her time to help handicapped children enjoy roller skating in her home rink. During high school she participated and earned awards in varsity tennis, cross-country running and was an officer in the SCA.

In school she presented a science fair project that required her to build a wind tunnel and then study automobile aerodynamics. From the project's success she was asked to assist in educational programs presented at CEBAF, NASA's Visitors center, and for Fairfax County Schools.

Her hobbies are varied and include environmental issues, animal studies, hiking, white-water canoeing, and even slot-car racing. She plans to study environmental sciences. Her plans also include, of course, racing.

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