Throughout the month of March – Women’s History Month – SCCA Women on Track has highlighted female SCCA members who have made their mark in a male-dominated sport. Each day, posts have been made on the SCCA Women on Track Facebook page to celebrate those accomplishments, showcasing those who push the limits in their dream to have fun with cars. Then each Friday, that week’s profiles have been presented here on SCCA.com. This being the final day of the month, we conclude the series with seven more amazing Club members.
This week’s SCCA Women on Track profiles clearly illustrate the diversity in every aspect of the Club. For starters, meet Tara Shapowal-Lau, a San Francisco Region member who has been wildly successful killing cones, claiming two SCCA National Championship titles during her eight years with the Club. Then there’s 32-year member, racer, and volunteer Stephanie Funk; 32-year member and four-time Solo National Champ Lorien Feighner; 31-year member Sydney Davis Yagel, who has done everything from race to officiate pro races; 28-year member Alison Turpin, whose work behind the scenes at pro races put her at the track as often as 32 times in one year; seven-year member and previous Wendi Allen Scholarship recipient Chelsea Tattershall; and comparative newbie Sarah Clinger, who has been autocrossing and RallyCrossing for two years.
You can find an archive of all women featured in this year’s showcase by scrolling down on the SCCA Women on Track webpage.
San Francisco Region | 8-year member
Program Area: Solo
Tara is a two-time Solo National Champion, National trophy winner, and first female to win the Golden Gate California Regional Porsche Club PAX trophy. She's obsessed with racing and has a special passion for Porsches, currently competing in a 2011 GT3 RS with her husband and coach, Steve Lau. She's been autocrossing since 2015, and can be found at most of the West Coast Solo and ProSolo events. Tara is also one of the SCCA Women on Track Solo Committee members. Prior to SCCA competition, she could be found flying helicopters, modifying Sea-Doos, and working on her various cars.
Tara loves the fierce competition and strong social connections that SCCA provides. “The Club pushes drivers to improve, but also provides a fun atmosphere in different locations around the country,” she said.
New England Region | 32-year member
Program Area: Road Racing and Volunteer
Stephanie has been a long-time racer and volunteer, as well as a driving coach for teenagers. She won the 2017 and 2018 Conference Championship for HP in the Northeast – the first woman to do so – and has had a number of championships in ITC and in HP. When not running in SCCA’s U.S. Majors Tour, she can be found racing motorcycles.
“SCCA has been my family of choice for over three decades now,” Stephanie said. “I grew up while in the Club and learned to stretch my limits, proving to myself over and over that ‘no’ is really all in my head. It has given me courage and compassion and it also gave me my husband.”
Sydney Davis Yagel
Houston and Indianapolis Regions | 31-year member
Program Areas: Road Racing, Pro Racing, Volunteer
Sydney grew up outside of Houston, Texas, in an SCCA family attending her first race at six-weeks old. Back then, Texas World Speedway was a different kind of playground that involved bicycles, plastic kiddie pools, and learning the ropes of gridding cars before it was technically legal. When she was old enough, her dad sent her off to racing school (finally!) and she took to the track for her first ITE race in the family Miata. Soon after, her skills were noticed by the Houston Region leadership, and she was recruited to be the Race Chair for local events. After 10 years behind the wheel, she decided to focus more on the operations and administration of events.
Having been involved with the Grand Prixes of Houston and Louisiana, Sydney was next recruited for additional pro races at Circuit of the Americas, including Formula One, WEC, and MotoGP. The experience she gained led to a role with SCCA Pro Racing overseeing the F4 U.S. and FR Americas Championships, which meant a move to Indianapolis. She eventually became the youngest and first female General Manager of SCCA Pro Racing. Her involvement with the two FIA-certified championships opened the door to more international opportunities, including serving as Deputy Clerk of the Course for Formula E and stewarding for the W Series. She's excited to see where her stewarding and clerking journey leads. Yearly, she attends the SCCA National Championship Runoffs to volunteer on grid to say howdy to her friends and enjoy her roots.
“SCCA has always meant family; whether it’s growing up at the track with my family or continuing life-long friendships with people who have become family,” Sydney said. “Some of my favorite moments in life have included my SCCA family, including meeting my husband at the track and our engagement during the annual Houston Region banquet. I'm forever grateful for the support and opportunities that have come through the SCCA, and it will always be a part of my life. No matter how much time passes, everyone always picks up where we left off. As many have said before, we come for the cars, but we stay for the people.”
Saginaw Valley Region | 32-year member
Program Area: Solo
Lorien’s SCCA life began in the early 1990s when she started attending Regional autocrosses with her husband. With some encouragement from other female drivers, she started driving, too. It took some time, but eventually her competitive nature kicked in, and she was hooked. In addition, she has also served on the Saginaw Valley Region executive board in a variety of positions. Lorien and Velma Boreen created the popular SVR Ladies Day Solo event, and Lorien continues to chair it annually. Her greatest driving achievement is four Solo National Championships, all in ESPL.
“The best thing about being an SCCA member is the lifelong friendships that I have made,” Lorien said. “And after all these years, the last two have been the most fun, mentoring and competing with a new woman driver as she begins her SCCA journey.”
Northwest Ohio and Steel Cities Regions | 2-year member
Program Areas: Solo and RallyCross
Sarah found autocross through her boyfriend, now fiancé, in 2021 and immediately got hooked. She just finished her rookie seasons in Solo and RallyCross, and her accomplishments include being the DSL winner during the Charlotte Solo National Tour, collecting various local trophies in Open class in both autocross and RallyCross, and being a Steel Cities Region novice season winner. She’s loved the opportunity to get involved in SCCA functions with the SCCA Women on Track Solo Committee.
“SCCA Solo has been one of the main drivers of my healing after an abusive relationship, as it’s given me something hard and rewarding to focus on,” Sarah said. “I’ve been able to turn my life around in part due to focusing on SCCA.”
We’re grateful to be a part of her journey, and we can’t wait to see what she achieves next.
New England Region | 28-year member
Program Areas: Road Racing and Pro Racing
Alison was practically born into the SCCA family. From the moment she and her older brother were born, they spent most summer weekends at one of several tracks: Lime Rock (their “home” track), Briar (now NHMS), Watkins Glen, and the frequently wet Pocono. Technically joining the SCCA in 1981, Alison has been through several minor and teen programs with the SCCA and is still a member today. Through the years, she served as crew for her dad and brother, worked corners (including at several Petit Le Mans), and has recently gotten behind the wheel for driving events with New England Region at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Being born into a racing family, Alison put her sights on a career in the industry at an early age. After college – and with a telecommunications degree – she started knocking on doors and walking up to camera operators at races asking how she could make her way into the broadcast world. Over the last 18 years, she has worked for several companies to cover ALMS, IndyCar, IMSA, F1, Grand-Am, WEC, GRC, and NASCAR. After more than a decade of 32-plus race weekends a year, she has started scaling back and only works IndyCar races, where you can find her along the yard of bricks across from start/finish for the Indianapolis 500.
“I have spent my career in a very male-dominated world fighting and cheering for women,” Alison said. “I am in awe, recently, of how many women have kicked down the doors and fought their butts off to be recognized and accepted into several aspects of racing. One of the highlights of my career was watching front row and center as Simona and Paretta made the cut for the 500. I believe women in racing are some of the most special people out there because they have truly fought for where we are today. SCCA has allowed me to have #funwithcars and meet a great group of people in the process.”
Colorado and Continental Divide Regions | 7-year member
Program Area: Solo
Chelsea has been an enthusiastic member of her local autocross community for several years. She was even promoting SCCA Autocross to other female drivers after only three years behind the wheel herself. Serving as the chief of workers for both the Colorado Region and Continental Divide Region’s programs, she was also one of the 2022 recipients of the Wendi Allen Scholarship, an award that provides funding to women in the Solo program to compete in Solo National Tours and the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. Chelsea made the most of her opportunity, and participated in both the Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo Championship Finale and Solo National Championships. At the ProSolo Finale, she finished 12th in Ladies Class 2, and in the Solo National Championships, she finished fourth in the Street Touring Ultra Ladies class.
“SCCA is like my family,” Chelsea said. “I love the community and friends we have made over the years. It’s also the most fun and memorable times I have racing and meeting new people. I have tried hard these last few years to promote women in racing and have moved more women into positions in our Regions. SCCA has given me so much, and I hope to return it each year.”