Legendary Delco Women’s Sports Exhibit Athlete of the Week–”Mares Stellfox”
Mares Stellfox just loves to drive fast. From the age of four, she has wanted to drive race cars. In 1984, Mares–a Springfield High School graduate–made her debut in the world of micro sprint racing with her car at Delaware’s Airport Speedway. By the end of the season, she had achieved her goal of finishing among the top ten drivers in her class. The following year, she achieved a new goal of finishing among the top five drivers. The year after that, she won the championship.
Mares has accomplished much and broken many barriers in the sport of auto racing, long considered a man’s sport. In 1988, when she was still struggling to gain acceptance as a driver, she joined a racing club called the Tri-State MicroSprint Outlaws as the only woman among the nearly 100 men in the club. Because of her unique status, she became known in the racing world as “The Lady Outlaw”, competing in almost 100 events that year. In 1989, Mares moved up to the full-size midgets, becoming the first woman to win Rookie of the Year with the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC), another traveling series. She was even contacted by the president of the California Racing Association (CRA) and flown to California to race.
In January 1994, Mares got the call to join the ranks of NASCAR, but had to pass up the chance for personal reasons. She was out of racing until 2001, when she was back behind the wheel to drive at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey. 2001 belonged to Mares, with several feature wins, including breaking three track records, records which she held for a number of years.
By 2004, Mares was back running URC. Upon her return, she continued to make new marks in the sport, winning the prestigious Most Improved Driver award in her second year back. She is the only driver to win the Bars Leaks award by coming from the B-main to win the A-main. She just missed a third career sweep at Penn Can then, a few weeks later, was about to take the checkered flag at a Thunder on the Hill race at Grandview Speedway when a competitor clipped her and sent her into the wall, destroying her car and taking away any chance for the win.
Currently, Mares is helping Joe Grandinetti, now owner of the Tri-State RaceSavers (TSRS) sprint series, to promote the series and run the shows. For more information on TSRS, you can visit their website at www.tsrs1.com. photo courtesy of Jim Young Racephotos