TUMWATER, Washington — In racing, to be the best you’ve got to compete against the best, and that’s just what Jessica Dana will do this Saturday when she becomes the youngest female driver to take part in the prestigious Miller 200 at South Sound Speedway in Rochester, Wash.
"It’s going to be the biggest race of my career so far, and there will be a lot of great drivers from the Northwest in the field. "
The 16-year-old high school student from Tumwater, Wash., has already built an impressive list of accomplishments in her first year driving a late-model racecar, recording five top-5 finishes in eight starts at “The Fastest Three-Eighths Mile on the West Coast,” as South Sound is known.
“I’m very excited to be taking part in the Miller 200,” said Jessica. “It’s going to be the biggest race of my career so far, and there will be a lot of great drivers from the Northwest in the field. I’m going to have to put everything I’ve already learned about South Sound to use, but I know there will be a lot more I can pick up watching those veterans.”
In addition to soaking up the atmosphere at her first Miller 200, Jessica is looking forward to interacting with the large crowd of race fans expected for the event. Thanks to sponsor Margent Corporation — owner of all Dairy Queen franchises in Thurston and Lewis counties — on Saturday Jessica will be handing out coupons good for one free DQ ice cream cone.
“Margent Corporation and our 175 employees are thrilled to support Jessica Dana and her historic start at the Miller 200 on Aug. 6,” said vice president Mike McKinnon Jr. “As an employer of many local teens, we’re proud of what Jessica has achieved and the role model she is becoming.”
A family-owned corporation in business since the late 1970s, Margent owns and operates five Dairy Queen Grill & Chill franchises in the greater Olympia, Wash., area, stretching southward to Centralia and east to Yelm. The corporation also supports many local sports teams as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County and Hands On Children’s Museum.
In addition to having a large DQ Blizzard decal on the hood of her No. 12 Super Late Model, Jessica is pleased and proud to carry on her racecar the logos of Dana Commercial, Grimm Collections, Olympic Auto Body and Quality Auto Care.
The front gate at South Sound Speedway opens at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday for the Miller 200. The Super Late Model division will qualify at 5 p.m. and run a B Main on Saturday prior to the main event, which is presented by Miller and Pepsi. Also slated to race will be the D&S Light Truck & Auto Mini Stocks, Tire Dog Bumblebees and HiLine Homes Legends. For more information including ticket prices, visit www.southsoundspeedway.com.
As of Monday the 22 drivers pre-entered for the $3,000-to-win Miller 200 — the final field is expected to be 30 or more — included many big names in Northwest late-model racing such as two-time and defending race winner Kelly Mann, three-time NASCAR Northwest Series champion Ron Eaton, Dan Obrist, Billy Webber, Dirk Stevens and current South Sound Super Late Model points leader Bob Presley.