GirlPower: Troup’s all-female GreenPower team took it to the boys on the tarmac

Published 3:09 pm Friday, May 12, 2023

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Girl Power.

The all-female Troup 556 GreenPower team took it to the boys on the tarmac this season and placed third in the national championship races at Talladega Superspeedway in the advanced stock division. The team is small but mighty, consisting of just four members — Gracie Brown, Evie Carnes, Aniyah Smith and Catalina Starr. While there were other members of the team during the season, they came and went as these four locked it down.

“Originally, it was a mixed team, but when some people dropped out we wanted to make an all-girls team to stand out,” Brown said. “We may not have finished first, but finishing third meant a lot to us because we were an all-girl team.”

For two, Carnes and Starr, it was the first year for GreenPower while the other two had one year of experience coming into this year. While they did not have the experience that other teams had, they did have a desire to learn.

“When they first started they didn’t know a lot about the car, but I would come out here and see them working on the car until 5 or 6 o’clock figuring stuff out,” said Danny Beasley, the Troup High GreenPower coach.

That persistence to better themselves led the team to some tremendous success this season, winning The Toyota Classic and the Columbus Grand Prix. Carnes said the team placed in all the events outside of the first as the team really came together over the course of the season.

Despite claiming a big victory to boost the team’s morale at the Toyota Classic, it was not a seamless path to victory for the team. In fact, the event nearly went off the rails early.

“In the first heat, we were about to start the race and turned on our car, and it didn’t go,” Smith said. “We had to have some of the pit crew for the boys team help us out. That set us back, but we were able to finish the race for the first time this season.”

This was far from the only challenge these four girls faced this season, including a near disaster scenario at the national championship race.

“We ended up popping three tires in the practice heat,” Starr said. “We had no spare tires after that. If we would have popped another tire at that race, it would have been really bad.”

Starr knows firsthand as she is one of the two drivers, along with Smith, who had to experience a tough day on the track at Talladega. It is a long and unique course, but one the team was extremely grateful they got to take part in.

“I don’t think we realized in the moment how big of an opportunity this was for us to walk around the track and especially getting the chance to race there,” Brown said. 

Despite the strong bond between these four girls, the comradery can turn sour in the snap of a finger on race day and these girls on occasion did butt heads before finding a peaceful resolution.  

“We butt heads all the time,” Carnes said, as the four shared a laugh.

Starr said: “Tensions can get high and small problems can seem really big at the moment, but we are all pretty chill once we let it all out.”

That run at Talladega will likely be the last time these four come together as a team. GreenPower is not offered as a class at Troup High, it is strictly an after school activity and with some of the girls playing other sports, GreenPower will likely not fit into their schedules next season.

When they look back on this year, they realize just how special this GirlPower team is.

“We met another all-girls team at Talladega from Texas, but they were a modified team, and we ran stock,” Smith said.  

Carnes said that it is the only stock all-girls team at the high school level.

While this incarnation of the all-girls Troup team has likely run its final race, the team will live on. 

“At least two of us plan on coming back and we want to place again next year,” Starr said. “I think we can perform just as well as we did this year, if not even better.”