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Shantel Kalika will make four more starts in 2019 (Matthew Manor/NASCAR)

Shantel Kalika Making a Name for Herself Amongst the Series’ Best

For Prince Albert, Saskatchewan’s Shantel Kalika 2018 was a big year for her. Starting her racing career at the age of 20, Kalika steadily rose the ranks of the local scene at her home track of Wyant Group Raceway. Winning races and championships, Kalika and her family decided that 2018 was the perfect time to make the next step; a jump to the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.

A family owned and operated team, Kalika and her whole family at Busch Racing know how important it was to do this journey together.

“It was something that we always had wanted to do as a family” Kalika said.  My whole race team is made up of my family” Kalika sad “My dad, he’s been my crew chief for me for years now, ever since I’ve been racing. My husband’ has done the tires and the fuel and the jack man, and we’ve got three other people that come with us to the races.”

In her four career Pinty’s Series starts, Kalika has a best finish of 12th coming just a few days ago in Jukasa. The APC 200 marked a special milestone for the 29-year-old, as it marked her first big race outside of western Canada.

“For us it was coming into we kind of didn’t really know exactly what to expect a new track and obviously, not knowing setup and that kind of stuff” Kalika said. “But the track is absolutely amazing. The facility is gorgeous, the high speeds are something I’ve never raced at before. It was a new experience, but definitely an overall amazing experience”

Jukasa was also an experience unlike any other for Kalika, as it gave her the chance to run at one of Canada’s fastest oval tracks against some of the fiercest competition in the world. Running against guys like Alex Tagliani, D.J Kennington and LP Dumoulin, have helped Kalika gain confidence and become comfortable racing among NASCAR’s best.

“I am aiming for the highest class that you can go and this series has such a high caliber of talent and it’s actually there. When you’re able to step up to that and are able to race alongside the best in Canada, it’s even just taught me a lot as a driver.”

Like most Pinty’s Series driver, Kalika has a day job. When she is not racing Kalika is actually an Insurance Broker at Cornerstone Insurance in Prince Albert. Juggling a full day of work, plus the duties of running a race team can be tough on anyone, but for Kalika she has stepped up to the plate and answered the call perfectly.

WETASKIWIN AB - July 28 2018: The Luxxur 300 presented by Bayer for the NASCAR Pinty's Series at Edmonton International Speedway in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. (Photo: Matthew Manor/NASCAR)
Shantel Kalika has embraced being a role model for young women across the province. (Photo: Matthew Manor/NASCAR)

“It’s definitely always hard work but it’s rewarding, for sure.” Kalika said. “My family chooses to be racing and when you’re trying to wear the cap of being successful in a career, and then trying to be successful in racing and taking care of the marketing and the social media and everything like that, for the racing side of things. Sometimes it gets pretty busy, but I try to juggle it the best that I can.”

With the success of this past weekend at Jukasa, Kalika hopes one day she will be able to compete the full season and win Josten’s Rookie of the Year honours. Should she accomplish this feat, she would be the first woman and the first Saskatchewan based driver to win the honours.

Kalika has four more races scheduled for 2019, the Saskatoon double header, Edmonton and Jukasa Championship Weekend. However, her team is working diligently to find the necessary sponsorship that will help Kalika realize her racing dream.

“We have a lot of people who are behind us, we’ve got amazing sponsors, people like AGI have been amazing” Kalika said. “I want to run the full season but we definitely need more sponsorship to do so. It’s so important to get the proper people behind you and being able to get out there and make a name for yourself. I think we’ve done pretty good at that.”

WETASKIWIN AB - July 28 2018: The Luxxur 300 presented by Bayer for the NASCAR Pinty's Series at Edmonton International Speedway in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. (Photo: Matthew Manor/NASCAR)
Shantel Kalika’s No.43 AGI team at Busch Racing is a family owned and operated team. (Photo: Matthew Manor/NASCAR)