Saturday, June 15, 2024

Iacono continues family’s racing tradition

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

For Taylor Iacono, drag racing is in the family’s blood. She is following the tradition.

She has been competing since she was eight-years-old. Iacono began in Jr. Dragsters.

Sportsman drag racer Taylor Iacono is seen here celebrating a win at her home track at Atco Dragway
Taylor Iacono is seen here celebrating a win at her home track at Atco Dragway (Photo by Taylor Iacono/Instagram)

“I got started in drag racing from my parents,” she said. “They actually both met at the race track. They actually met at Atco Dragway. My dad lived five minutes down the road, so they met here. My grandparents actually race, as well. There’s three aunts on my mom’s side and they all married racers. I have two cousins that race, and I race, as does my sister. I’ve been racing for about 10-years. “As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to drag race. I want to do it for the rest of my life and die being a drag racer.”

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She admitted she learned a lot of life lessons from competing in Jr. Dragsters.

“Racing in Jr.’s has taught me so much,” she said. “I think every kid should get involved in racing if they can, because you don’t get a trophy every weekend. You don’t get a participation trophy. You’re going to go there, and you’re going to lose 99% of the time. There are some exceptions to that, but you’re taught how to deal with that loss and move on from it.

“I’ve also met friendships that I’ve made that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I went to high school and had friends, but not friends that I’ll keep in the future. All of my friends now are drag racing friends.”

Besides being a drag racer, Iacono is a college student with an emphasis on Education. She is presently in her third year, she said.

She completed two years at Rowan College at Burlington County. Now, she is attending Rowan University.

“I’m going to be a Special Education teacher and a regular teacher through K through 6th grade,” Iacono said. “I guess I feel this way, because I’ve been taught you’re not always going to win. That’s something that’s been instilled in my life to this day. That’s what I’m going to instill into my future kids. I don’t think it’s necessary to win everything. A loss to me is going to teach you more than a win ever will. Losing is terrible, but I’ve learned more from losses.”

Iacono said she wanted to be a teacher at a young age.

“I used to play school down in my basement with my invisible friends, my dolls, and when Jackie [Fricke] and her husband Shawn [Fricke] came over, they would be my students,” she said. “That’s where my passion started. I also work right now in a daycare in an infant room – 0-2 years old. I’ve really always loved kids. A few of the kids I babysit have come and watched me at the track. I have a real passion for kids. I’m not a very patient person, but when it comes to kids, I magically have all this patience.

“The special needs passion came when I was in a program in high school. It was called the Buddies Club, and you would get in a group and have social rec time. We would play card games with the kids and every day, you would go with them. You would do something with them and you were changing their lives. I always think about the parents and the hard times they have at home, so when you’re at school, it’s time to influence them and give the parents a break. It’s very rewarding.”

She has an aunt in Jackie Fricke that competes in Top Alcohol Dragster. She is the driver of the Finke Racing Top Alcohol Dragster.

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“She is definitely chasing her dreams, which I really respect and I think it’s awesome that she’s been able to achieve her dream,” Iacono said. “With her, I’ve been able to experience life things that I wouldn’t have been able to experience. My parents raced too, but they raced locally. My dad didn’t do this Divisional stuff until my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Shawn. I think it’s awesome. I think I’ve only missed four races on the entire NHRA tour. I’ve gotten to fly to California and Las Vegas and those are places that you don’t get to see very much. I’m lucky to be just 20-years-old and been able to see half the United States at this point.”

Iacono even admitted that she has had an opportunity to drive a Top Alcohol Dragster. However, she did not accept the offer.

She wants to get her Super Comp license first.

“Yes, but I’m still a little cautious,” Iacono said. “I’m actually going to get my Super Comp license within the next month or so. We’re going to do it here at Atco Dragway and we’re going to rent the track. I’m going to run Shawn’s car. If that all goes well, I would like to get my Top Dragster license, as well. I can run both classes with the same car. Jackie told me to get in her dragster while we were in Norwalk to do a burnout, but I’m not ready.

“I’m a little bit cautious. I would love to do it, but I would like to take it slow. Rachel Meyer is a close friend of mine and she did it very slow. That’s how I want to do it. I want to ease into it.”

Meyer is one of several drivers for the Randy Meyer Racing team. Megan is the main driver, while Rachel and Julie Nataas split the second dragster.

Sportsman drag racer Taylor Iacono is set to race at the NHRA National Open on May 2nd, 2019, at Atco Dragway
Taylor Iacono is set to race at the NHRA National Open on May 2nd, 2019, at Atco Dragway (Photo by Taylor Iacono/Instagram)

Sometimes, Matt Sackman is hired to drive one of the team dragsters.

“I look up to Jackie, but Rachel is one of my best friends, so is Krista Baldwin,” she said. “She’s another great friend of mine. If it wasn’t for Jackie, they are the two people I look up to. They’re awesome people, and it’s awesome to have a friendship with them. One lives in Indy and the other lives in Kansas, so we have a long-distance friendship.”

Iacono admitted her goal would be to be a teacher and a drag racer at the same time. Teachers have the summers off, which would allow her an opportunity to drag race.

“That’s my goal,” Iacono said. “With teaching, you have the whole summer off. I can then plan my profession around my teaching future. I would have the summers off. My end goal would be to run Top Dragster for the rest of my life. I don’t have any ambition to be a pro driver. I wanted to be a Pro Stock driver for a while, but it wasn’t my dream, you could say. Now that the class is dying a little, my end-all goal would be to just be in Top Dragster.”

Presently, Iacono is competing in Super Street with her black pickup truck. She has been driving it for the last three years.

She already has sponsorships from Burnyzz Speed Shop, Quik Latch, Big Oak Fuel, RacePak, C2 Converters, Accelerated Travel, Finke Equipment, Moroso Performance, VP Race Fuels, and Competitive Suspension Solution.

“I drive with a 10.90 index,” she said. “You go up there with a game plan, but more than 50% of the time, the game plan is over once you go up to the starting line. My truck can be very unpredictable. I know if my reaction time is bad, I have to get to a point in the track and drop, because I know I’m already behind on the reaction time. It’s a total mind game. I’m still learning, because it definitely is confusing. I’m still not all the way there yet. I have really good teachers, though.”

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Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report. He has been in the Journalism field since August 2002. Since that time, Mr. Caruso has covered many marquee events. This includes 13 Heisman Trophy ceremonies, 2 Little World Series events, and one Army-Navy College Football game.
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