Only two races into her K&N Pro Series career, Brittney Zamora is already hungry for more.
The 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, 2018 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award winner, and fresh off her second consecutive Northwest Super Late Model Series title in 2018, Zamora is eager to get back behind the wheel of her No. 99 Bill McAnally Racing machine.
All things considered, she thinks her first two races at New Smyrna Speedway (15th) and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track (11th) have gone as expected.
Not a bad KN debut! Didn?t get the results we wanted and can?t control other drivers but my car was on rails! Was picking off positions till our night got ended. If we keep this momentum up we will be one to keep your eyes on ?? #99in19 pic.twitter.com/ntfGO7tn5i
— Brittney Zamora (@brittneyz52) February 12, 2019
"I’m a rookie in the K&N Pro Series, but not to racing stock cars," Zamora said. "I have that experience to take with me and use at every level since I’ve progressed. From super late models on up. That definitely helps me and I’m comfortable in the cars."
Comfort comes with time, though. And her experience at LVMS was anything but. Ahead of her first foray into the dirt racing realm, the Kennewick, Washington, native aimed to gain any experience on dirt before the Star Nursery 100. Unfortunately, things didn’t materialize and she entered the Wednesday afternoon optional practice session with zero experience on dirt.
"New team, new car, new track, a whole bunch of new that I had to soak up like a sponge," she said. "We were running well in the top 10 and then a late race incident got us out. That’s racing sometimes, a bummer. But we kept our heads up heading into Vegas. I knew that was going to be tough heading into it. On practice day, I was trying to figure out how to race on the dirt. That was tough, it took me three of the four sessions to learn how to get that down. Be able to get the car sideways and feel comfortable with that."
Her goal was to survive, and that’s exactly what she did. An 11th-place result isn’t something that’ll catch your eye on the box score, but she got through it and the two-race stretch to open up her K&N Pro Series career.
"The first two races were probably the hardest two races that I’ll go through this year," she said. "Because it’s so many new things to me that I haven’t done before. Heading into Irwindale and onward, my team and I have a lot of confidence and hopefully we can start getting top fives, top threes and eventually a win. It’s been good so far, but you always want better."
This past week, Bill McAnally Racing tested at Irwindale Speedway, home of the next K&N Pro Series West event on the schedule in two weeks. Having raced there last September in a SLM along with the test, Zamora has learned to love to driving style it takes to get around what she calls a "unique" track.
Testing with this beaut at Irwindale ? pic.twitter.com/aaG3WmnJEg
— Brittney Zamora (@brittneyz52) March 7, 2019
Racing-Reference: Brittney Zamora Career Statistics
"I’m excited to be back on asphalt," she said with a laugh. "We tested there and things went really well. All of us were within two tenths of each other. To have three drivers that close is a good starting spot. Heading into (the race weekend), having that experience behind us will help us immensely. We got a few quirks out of the way and now we can focus on what matters. I think we’re going to be a team you need to watch out for sure."
With all the opportunities Zamora has been afforded the last few months, it’s tough to believe she was a relatively unknown driver to Toyota Racing Development and BMR a mere four months ago. At the Toyota Combine last August, she impressed enough to be invited to a K&N Combine with BMR and obviously did well.
"We succeeded in what we needed to do that day," she said. "I impressed Bill and Toyota. We were looking for a ride this season, but were waiting on sponsorship and luckily they came along. It all happened really fast. Like 3-4 months from Toyota not knowing who I was to them and Bill helping me out. Super grateful for the opportunity. It’s a team that for the past two years I’ve been dreaming to be on. They’re arguably the best team on the West coast and throughout the K&N Series. To say I’m grateful is honestly an understatement."
Although the progression has been quick to put it lightly, driver No. 99 is eager to take the training wheels off, so to speak, and dive into the rest of the season. It’s been in her blood her entire life.
The second-generation driver’s first trip to the track when she was four days old. Racing is all she’s ever known. The second she strapped into a go-kart at age 4, she knew following in her father Mike’s footsteps was going to be something that needed to be done.
The only difference is the age. He was 20 when he even thought of getting started in racing. Brittney is 19 and already deep into the stock car world. Super late models is what she’s known, but these full-bodied, heavier K&N Pro Series stock cars are a whole different animal.
"The first few races have been a great learning experience," she said. "Now I feel like everything is right where it needs to be. I have some great competitors around me, but out of the first three races, I feel like this is the best chance I have of getting a top three or win. Really excited, going to do everything I can on my part to succeed in that race."
The Irwindale 150 will take place on Saturday, March 30 at 7 p.m. (approx.) with the race being streamed live on FansChoice.TV. This will mark the first time the series visits the Southern California half-mile since 2017.