By and large, 15-year-old Olivia Haworth of Langhorne, Pa. discovered her love of racing much like her contemporaries on the track. In essence, she fell in love with motorsports after watching one of the crown jewel events of NASCAR.
Given these points, Haworth realized what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Humble, gracious, and ambitious, this young racer enjoys the challenges and rewards of racing all while focusing on her high school studies. Certainly, she has the focus and discipline for long-term success with anything she puts her mind towards.
Still, Haworth has that racer’s heart and soul. Despite a tremendously successful year in the 125cc Micro Sprints at Airport Speedway, her sights are on bigger challenges for 2020 and beyond.
Clearly, Haworth understands the nature and demands of motorsports on the track and away from it. Suffice to say, she appreciates her successes but absolutely thrives under pressure and taking on the great unknowns ahead with her career.
Compassionate and authentic, Haworth has the makings to be a true superstar in the world of racing. All things considered, her story certainly evokes inspiration with those who love racing or seeking hope in today’s world.
Recently, I caught up with this budding racing talent. Altogether, race fans and readers of TPF ought to pay attention to Olivia Haworth. Her name could be one that’s associated with stardom in the future!
With that, let’s get “In the Driver’s Seat with Olivia Haworth,” a current Micro Sprint racing sensation and future motorsports icon!
Rob Tiongson : First of all, thank you for taking the time to talk about your racing journey on TPF! Tell me a bit about yourself and how your passion for motorsports started.
Olivia Haworth : Thank you for having an interest in me and my love for racing! My passion for racing started when I was only 10 years old! My dad was watching the 2015 Daytona 500 when I decided to sit down and watch it with him. I quickly gained interest and was hooked when I found out there was a female driver. I couldn’t believe that women could drive race cars. When my dad told me I could too, I was in shock. We googled “race cars for kids” the next day and found quarter midgets.
I attended an arrive and drive in March and tested out the cars. I knew right away racing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A month later, I had my first car and was racing every Friday at SJQMA in Atco, N.J. I raced quarter midgets all over the Northeast and even at Daytona International Speedway before moving up to micro sprints in 2018.
Rob Tiongson : At just age 15, you’ve accomplished a lot as a 125cc Micro Sprint racer from Pennsylvania. What is it like to compete in these cars at Airport Speedway, a track in Delaware? And how long it took you to adapt to these cars?
Olivia Haworth : Thank you! It was definitely a challenge for me to adapt to micro sprints. Not only did I move into a faster and bigger car, but I needed to learn how to shift. It took me a couple races to figure out a shifting pattern for my home track, Airport Speedway.
But once I figured it out, everything became a breeze. And I could focus on my line and what way around the track was the fastest. Airport made my transition into micros very easy and everyone was so welcoming. I have gained friendships with many other drivers in my short time there.
Rob Tiongson : Some may not consider the Northeast as a hub for motorsports talents. However, a lot of open wheel and stock car talents hail from Pennsylvania and its surrounding areas. Do you have a few favorite inspirations from this area or in any racing series before you embarked in your career?
Olivia Haworth : No one from my area strikes me in particular, but women in Motorsport have been a huge inspiration to me, from Danica Patrick in Cup racing, to Brittany Force in drag racing, even to McKenna Haase in sprint car racing.
I am usually following any female driver I can find in the realm of racing as I believe it’s important for us all to support one another. I noticed from the beginning that racing is a male dominated sport and my goal is to change that.
Rob Tiongson : You balance the demands of racing while attending high school. How do you devote time for both so that you’re excelling on the track and in the classroom?
Olivia Haworth : Academic success has always been important in my family, so I always try my best to keep my grades up. While racing has dominated about 90% of my life, I make sure to make time for school events so I can still experience a relatively normal high school experience.
I am currently involved in interact club and ski club and will be going out for the lacrosse team again this year in the spring. I am always supporting my high school football team and attending school dances as well.
Rob Tiongson : What’s the greatest advice pertaining to your racing efforts that resonates with you?
Olivia Haworth : The best advice I have been told is that it’s not always about where you finish but how you feel you did during the race. It’s important that you’re happy with how you drove the car and what changes you can make for the next race. You need to be confident in yourself and the car.
Rob Tiongson : Motorsports’ diversity efforts have ramped up throughout the years. More women and minorities carved their way to NASCAR or other series as racers, pit crew members or engineers. When you see this kind of progress as a young woman aspiring to be in racing, how encouraging is this when considering that you may empower others?
Olivia Haworth : The idea that I might inspire other young girls and boys one day melts my heart. As a young girl myself, I am inspired by the women already changing the face of motorsports. I hope one day, I can add to it as well.
Rob Tiongson : Racers can be known for their superstitions that they feel get them by the grind of a weekend. What are some things that you habitually do prior to a race?
Olivia Haworth : While it may not be considered a superstition my wish every race day is to see a brown and orange butterfly. My Nana, who passed away earlier this year, was one of my biggest supporters when it came to racing. After her passing, I see the same colored butterfly almost every day. I like to think that if I see the orange butterfly at the track, my Nana is there to guide me to Victory Lane.
Rob Tiongson : You’re graduating your way up to 270cc cars for 2020. While these cars will be more powerful, how are you preparing for this racing division?
Olivia Haworth : I like to think of me moving up to a new division as bittersweet. I have learned so much about racing in the 125cc class and I am sad to leave the class behind. But I am in need of a new challenge. So, I am excited for what the 270 open class holds for me.
270s will definitely be a big difference from the 125s as it is much more populated. And, I now have to learn to race against men twice my age! To prepare myself for such a big change I have been watching videos of previous 270 races at my home track, reading about car changes, and talking to other drivers in the 270 class.
Rob Tiongson : Let’s talk off track for the moment. If you had a one-day concert for your fans and got to invite any bands or musicians to perform, which ones would they be?
Olivia Haworth : Great question! I think it would be fun to bring some 80s bands or some early 2000s artists back. I’ve always been a fan of 80s music so I think it would be a fun concert!
Rob Tiongson : You obviously have a love of dirt track racing and a lot of today’s IndyCar and NASCAR talents have this pedigree in their resume. Would you say you’ve got a specific racing series in mind for the future?
via Haworth : While I don’t have a specific series in mind I know for sure that I want to go after a career in racing. Whether it’s 410 Sprints, IndyCar, or NASCAR, I hope it’s somewhere in the mix.
Special thanks to Olivia for sharing her story! In addition to future stories on TPF, keep up-to-date with Olivia via her Facebook page, her Instagram, or contact her via email! This article is dedicated to Olivia’s loving Nana, Bernice Edele, who she continues to make proud every day!