Car Chix Women of Motorsports February 2020: Donna Thibodaux

Car Chix Women of Motorsports February 2020: Donna Thibodaux
Image courtesy Chasity Olinde has partnered with Car Chix, the premier motorsports organization specifically for women, to cross-promote opportunities in the racing industry and support drivers, wrenchers and enthusiasts. Car Chix runs a yearly Women of Motorsports contest, selecting twelve women to appear in the Car Chix calendar and become official members of the organization. RacingJunk will be featuring some of these auto industry standouts as part of its commitment to celebrating the growing diversity of the sport and to recognize the contribution that women have made, and continue to make.

A bracket racer from Chackbay, La., Donna Thibodaux is a fast-moving member of both the NHRA and IHRA and has the track record to prove it. She won the Wally for the National Dragster Challenge, was the Street ET championship runner-up at No Problem Raceway (one of her two home tracks, the other being State Capitol Raceway) and holds several other impressive awards to boot.

Thibodaux has loved racecars since childhood – as a little girl, she helped her uncle build racecar model kits, and watched auto racing on the Wide World of Sports – but only got behind the wheel eight years ago. Her husband, a man with considerable knowledge of his own about racing, promised to build her a racecar when they met. For their first anniversary he gave her a steering wheel, and the rest is history! While unfamiliar with the auto racing world of their own accords, her parents have also been a great source of support; Thibodaux’s fondest racing memory is seeing them in the stands for the very first time when she was in the finals for the Wally. Their faces lit up as she performed a victorious burnout upon winning the award, but she later had to explain to them what a Wally actually was.

Thibodaux’s favorite part of racing, though, isn’t the acclaim of taking the checkered flag. It’s the competition drivers find within themselves during bracket racing, and the chance to meet other auto enthusiasts who become an extended family of sorts. In fact, if she had unlimited funds, she says one of the things she’d do is purchase a motorhome to take down back roads and to small town racetracks all over the USA, meeting other racers and racing fans. The other thing she’d do with the money is donate to veterans’ homes, a worthy cause of a different sort.

Of course, racing hasn’t been all fun and games for Thibodaux – it never is for anyone. One frightening incident occurred when her car dropped the driveshaft while crossing the finish line. Thibodaux won the round despite the trouble and exited the vehicle to turn the power off – and the track sent the next pair of cars racing down the strip towards her! She jumped up onto the wall, waving to alert others of the error. Fortunately, no people or racecars were injured, but it was certainly a good scare. Thibodaux recalls the incident with good humor, noting that she was proud to find out how high she could jump!

Her ride is a ’94 Chevy S10 named Seabiscuit, powered by a 383 stroker SBC. With this formidable car, she hopes to move up from Street ET to Mod ET (or Footbrake) next season. The current setup is a new one, though, with a larger and faster engine than she’s driven before, so she’ll have to spend a lot of time on the track acclimating to the handling. Given that she also works as a nuclear medicine technologist and has a host of hobbies, from running to sewing and other arts and crafts, it looks like this will be a pretty busy year for her.

Thibodaux’s not intimidated, though – quite the opposite. To other potential racers, she gives this advice (and those of you who drive will recognize the truth of her words): You can do it, but don’t go down the track unless you can commit to the sport, because once you go down the track you will never quit.

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