Manitoba

Speed racer: Winnipegger makes history on NASCAR track

Whether it’s the tracks in Manitoba or a NASCAR race, Amber Balcaen has a need for speed.

Amber Balcaen, 24, is the 1st Canadian-born woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race in the U.S.

Amber Balcaen, the 1st Canadian-born woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race in the U.S. 0:58

Whether it's the tracks in Manitoba or a NASCAR race, Amber Balcaen has a need for speed.

The 24-year-old dirt racer from Winnipeg made history this weekend becoming the first Canadian-born woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race in the United States.

"It has sunk in and it hasn't. I've been smiling for the last two days and I'll be smiling all week," Balcaen said on Sunday.
Amber Balcaen, 24, is the 1st Canadian-born woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race in the United States. (Short Track 24/7)

"This is something I dreamed of, and I believed that I could achieve it and make it happen. For it to actually become a reality and for me to pull off the win was really a dream come true."

Balcaen took the title on Saturday in the seven-car Limited Sportsman Field during the NASACR Whelen All-American Series. This means Balcaen is in the first level of NASCAR, and she said her plans are to make it to the top of the five tiers.

Racing is in Balcaen's blood. Her grandfather and father raced cars and she grew up in a racing family. She started on dirt tracks in go carts and moved onto the speedway in Winnipeg. She made her way into the races down south and transitioned to NASCAR earlier this year.

"It's all I know. I mean I have grown up at the race track and I wanted to race ever since I knew what a race car was," she said. "I wanted it so bad and the feeling you get in a race car is like no other feeling in the world."

Amber Balcaen says her grandfather and father also raced cars. (Amber Balcaen/Facebook)
The journey has been difficult and Balcaen said she's faced a lot of hurdles on the road to glory.

"I've had to overcome a lot obstacles of being a Canadian in an American-dominated sport, a female in a male-dominated sport, someone that has no financial backing whatsoever in a very wealthy man's sport," she said.

"I just wanted it so bad that I wasn't going to let those excuses overtake my passion and determination to make my dreams a reality."

Although Balcaen recently moved to North Carolina to pursue her dreams she is back in Winnipeg this week to celebrate her historic victory.