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May 20, 2016

Racing with Keanna

Racing with Keanna

Courtesy of Keanna Erickson-Chang

Keanna Erickson-Chang corners a dirt section of track in her EcoBoost Ford Fiesta.

By Stephen Seitz

As sports stars go, if you think of Killington, you think of snow-sport athletes. In the case of Keanna Erickson-Chang, you would be wrong.

The 21-year-old discovered competitive auto racing instead and has recently competed in the 2016 Rally America National Championship in Portland, Ore. Next stop: the Olympus Rally in Shelton, Wash.

“She’s a local girl who didn’t have much interest in sports,” said her father, Andrew Chang.

According to Erickson-Chang’s website, she discovered racing five years ago when she first attended winter driving school in upstate New York, racing the first time in 2013. “In 2014,” the site states, “Keanna earned the Rookie of the Year title for the street legal classes while ice racing with [the Adirondack Motor Enthusiast Club.] Throughout the remainder of the year, she logged over 35 track days and continued her rally training. Keanna also participated in Lime Rock Park’s Autocross series. Qualifying seventh out of more than 250 drivers, of which the top 20 of whom are invited, she earned a spot in the 2014 Wells Fargo Invitational Autocross Shootout. She remains the only woman to have qualified for the invitational.”

Chang said his daughter hasn’t looked back.

“She did really well against those guys,” he said. “She came in second. From the start, we knew we had something special…She’s the fastest woman. She won seven Autocrosses. She likes ice racing. When she was a member of AMEC, those guys couldn’t keep up.”

So far this year, Erickson-Chang has competed in Michigan and Missouri, and she is scheduled to race in Pennsylvania, Maine, and Minnesota, among other states. She is booked to race until at least October.

Erickson-Chang’s most recent event took place at the Oregon Trail Rally at the Portland International Raceway. The event started on a mix of dirt, gravel, and asphalt, and it contained man-made jumps. The race moved to mountainsides in Oregon and Washington State, where competitors raced 115 miles on mostly gravel roads, clocking 335 miles total. Speeds sometimes topped 100 mph. Erickson-Chang drove a 1.0 litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta in B-Spec. With her navigator, Ole Holter, she won the final stage. The pair finished second in class following their second place finishes in February at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood (Potosi, Mo.) and at Sno*Drift Rally (Atlanta, Mich.) in January.

Chang said nobody ever saw this coming.

“She thought she might be a snowboarder, coming from Killington,” he said. “She fell in love with dance, but she didn’t want to compete. She was a straight-A student at Killington Elementary School, and now she’s studying at the New York School of Business.”

Chang said he and his family are now part-time Killington residents, though they’ve had a home at Sunrise Village for more than 30 years. “I moved here when I was 18,” he said, “I studied at Castleton and CCV. I had to move to New York to manage some properties I inherited.”

Anyone wishing to keep up with Erickson-Chang’s racing career can follow her at www.keannaericksonchang.com.

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