She is only 24-years-old and couldn't pass up the opportunity of a lifetime to compete overseas. Tiffany Daniels, or Tiff as she goes by, will join fellow female driver Toni McCray and compete in the American Speed Association Transcontinental Series FreeState 500 on Sunday, January 31, 2010 at the Phakisa Freeway Circuit oval in Welkom, Free State South Africa.
"I was really excited," Daniels said when she got the invitation. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go over to South Africa and run a race. I think its going to be so much fun. It will be really great racing with drivers from the U.S. and South Africa and that is something that we normally don't get to do in our racing careers and I am looking forward to it."
Daniels will be teaming up with Marc Davis for this event. The two grew up at the racetracks together and he is excited to have Daniels as his teammate, "She is more than a competitor and teammate, Tiffany is a friend," Davis said. "We grew up racing together on the short tracks of Virginia and North Carolina over the last 10 years. We are both excited to represent Team USA in the 'ASA Free State 500.' We will be the youngest team and hopefully the fastest. Our goals are to make new friends, see a wonderful country South Africa is and finish first and second."
She is excited about the enthusiasm the Davis's are bringing to this event, "They are really involved in promoting this race, and they know more about South Africa than I do. So going over there with them will be really interesting and I will probably learn a lot from them," Daniels exclaimed. "Just catching on to their excitement is awesome. Every time I talk to Harry (Marc's father) I get more and more excited about going over there and we are all looking forward to the trip and a lot of the things they are working on just sounds so really exciting. It will be a real good experience. We have been friends with the Davis's for a long time."
Finishing first is on everyone's mind especially for Daniels, its who finishes behind her that she is perplexed about. "That would be great to have the girls show up the guys over in South Africa," Daniels said when asked about her and Tony McCray battling for the win. "But really, as long as I am finishing first I don't care what the rest of the field looks like. I am going to be completely honest about it. It would be great for the girls to get a one-two finish and also going as a teammate to Marc Davis, I am also hoping our cars finish one-two as well."
A native of Smithfield, VA, she currently lives in Davidson, NC. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Carolina - Charlotte with a Mechanical Engineering degree, she went to work for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates as a support engineer. Today, she works under Earnhardt Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates where she works with both of the Sprint Cup teams which includes drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin Truex Jr.
Her racing career started by competing in the Legend cars where she finished third at Lowe's Motor Speedway Summer Shootout Series and third in the Winter Heat Series points. She moved up to limited late models where she had six top-five and nine top-ten finishes in 2007. In 2008, she participated in the Lyn St. James Driver Development Program where she received the Kara Hendrick Memorial Award for displaying outstanding spirit and talent. This past season she competed in the final five Camping World East Series events where her best finish came in the final event at Dover with a 14th place finish.
She is also very familiar with the American Speed Association through another friend, Sprint Cup Driver Reed Sorenson. "I raced with Reed in Legends and our families became very good friends. There was a group of us that would come down from Virginia and another group would come up from Georgia and we usually stayed in the same hotel together," Daniels recalled. "I remember going to watch him race at the ASA events at Concord and Berlin and learned a lot about the ASA from that. There have been some huge changes in the ASA program and they have done so much to expand especially to come up with a race over in South Africa. That is really impressive and its definitely a good series to be a part of and looking forward to the race."
"Tiff has a great personality and talent, we are excited to have her as part of this event," Dennis Huth, ASA President said. "Her enthusiasm shows every time I talk to her. I think she will be a great role model for the young females in South Africa who may have dreamed of becoming a motorsports driver someday. Both her and Toni McCray will make a very favorable impression on and off the track."
Prior to leaving for South Africa, Daniels will be celebrating her 25th birthday on January 6th.
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