Natalie Sather's future so bright, she has to wear shades. Photo courtesy of Natalie Sather.
If that's the case for the famed drift car driver, then the same can be said for 26-year-old Natalie Sather of Fargo, ND.
After gutting out a 2010 season in which she tackled a wrist injury during a race at South Boston Speedway, the third-year NASCAR Whelen All-American late model series racer has been making tremendous gains and strides this year at "America's Hometown Track."
Sather's had quite the stellar late model season down in South Boston, VA, scoring 13 top-fives and 15 top-10 finishes in 17 races. Her consistency has propelled her to the second position in the track championship hunt, sitting just behind points leader Philip Morris.
While Sather's friendly, congenial, and mild mannered, when it comes to the Fargo native behind the wheel of her No. 94 Chevy from Sellers Racing, she's tenacious, aggressive, and cunning.
When the boys of South Boston mash in her fender or trade paint during a Saturday night race, what does she do?
Exactly what a winner does--she stands up for herself, as she hangs it on the line, giving it her best every race, even by playing hardball at full speed during the cool months of April and May and the summer months of June, July, and August.
So what's made the difference for Natalie Sather from 2010 to this season at the 0.4 mile short track?
Natalie getting geared up for a night of racing at South Boston. Photo courtesy of Natalie Sather.
Pushing past the pain, Sather and her No. 94 team worked hard to get through that adversity, building on some strong top-five and top-10 runs late last year.
Not only did they compile strong performances and finishes, but they also developed chemistry as a potent force in the late model ranks.
"Last year, we were a new team and right away were faced with a big challenge," Sather said. "After my surgery, we really had to pull together as a team and figure out how to work through it together."
After starting 10th in the track's season opener and scoring a 17th place DNF in the second race of the season, the young racer went off on a torrid streak of top-10 finishes.
South Boston's third and fourth race of the season were twin-75's, which perhaps showed racing fans during the April 2nd event that she was determined to make tremendous headway to the front.
Scoring a 12th place in the first of the twin races, she gathered herself up and with excellent teamwork, she found herself finishing fifth.
At the time, it was her career best finish at the track, which was impressive considering how far she came along in a year.
Just as Bachman Turner Overdrive sang "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," Sather showed competitors and fans that they hadn't seen the best from her, as she went on a 10-race top-five streak. During that run, she accomplished the following: