There was an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry’s friend George became very distraught when his girlfriend starts moving into his social circle. George was afraid that his personal world was going to collide with his social world, or the world that he inhabited with his friends. George proclaimed, “Bad things happen when worlds collide”. The rest of the episode he spent bemoaning the fact that “Worlds are colliding. George is not happy”.
That episode of Seinfeld made me think about my own neurotic universe and how we typically segregated those people around us. Like many people, I have a world for my family, one for my friends and one for my racing. Many times my “friend world” will inhabit the same orbit as my racing world, but they never crash into each other.
Nowhere in my mind’s eye could I envision the racing world, the totally hot babe world and the blue collar hard working world colliding into each other. What would happen if they did? Was George right, did bad things happen when worlds collide?
She is what happens when worlds collide. Amanda has the fresh-faced good looks of a college coed on any campus in Any town, USA. At first sight, she looks like the girl next-door type, probably on the cheerleading squad.
Then, when you talk to her, you realize there is much more behind the pretty face.
Amanda is a racer. A very talented racer at that. Talented enough to win last year’s Track Championship in class at the Sunshine Drag Strip in Clearwater, Florida. Proof positive that bad things don’t happen when worlds collide.
Amanda would never tell you that she was an accomplished racer on the Drag strips in the Southeast. No, she wouldn’t mention it at all. She is more like the one friend that we all have, the one that is reserved at first meeting, but always the first one to work. There’s no question that she is more of a doer than a talker. She was so introverted in high school that she was never asked to the prom or homecoming dance.
Don’t be fooled by the initial shyness however. Once you have earned her confidence, the outgoing personality starts to appear. In addition to going fast, making people laugh is one of her obsessions.
Despite Amanda’s preference to let her Crew Chief/Husband do most of the talking, she is a self professed “class clown”. It’s not uncommon at the track to see Amanda dressed up in a giraffe costume after the racing is done, just for a little extra entertainment. Once, the team pitted next to her in the pit area was experiencing a tough day, thrashing away to replace a blown motor. Amanda ran to her tow rig and retrieved a blow up Sumo suit. She donned the suit and wore it around the rest of the day to bring their spirits up.
“That changed everything. It was great.” she stated. She claims to have pictures of these incidents. We’ve provided several photographs with this article but the giraffe and lady sumo pictures, well……you’ll have to ask her for those yourselves.
This reticent pretty lady is hardworking, outgoing, funny and a champion driver. (Worlds are colliding here).
When complimented, Amanda is quick to redirect the praise, pointing out that Crew Chief and husband, Donald Long, is “an awesome driver, but he enjoys tuning more, so that’s what he does. He’ll work on something until daylight to get it ready for a race”. She admitted to trying to set Donald up with her sister at first, then deciding to date him herself. They’ve known each other for eight years, and in April will be celebrating their one year wedding anniversary.
Every racer knows that without family support you can’t be successful. Amanda came from a broken family, where her parents split when she was three. She has had an on again/off again relationship with her father that has been repaired through time. Now they have dinner together every Sunday.
There is no shortage in work ethic or passion for racing in the Long household. The drag radial class offers the Long Race Team the most challenges. “It’s by far our favorite class,” states Amanda. In my opinion, that’s enough to make the other classes jealous. She’s young (twenty-something), and has already established herself as a skilled driver. Yet, there is much more that she wants to achieve in racing and life. Currently Amanda’s Team have set their sights on the lofty goal of her becoming the first woman to go 200 MPH on radials. Amanda and her crew seem to be on their way to making history.
As if there wasn’t enough to love about this super fast lady already, we have discovered that she is a gun aficionado as well. Turns out that Amanda has an affinity for handguns. Not just any handguns either. Concealable firearms. The sight of this beautiful lady and the knowledge that she owns concealed weapons conjures up a whole host of questions that I am not prepared to ask. (Worlds are colliding!).
Handguns, street racing, and drag racing are tell-tale signs that Amanda is an adventure seeker. She joined the Army out of high school, hoping to “jump out of airplanes and stuff”. Unfortunately, she was medically discharged due to a previously existing medical condition caused when a car came off a jack stand, fell on her and injured her shoulder.
Mama always warned me about fast women, but I don’t think Mom had this lady in mind when she issued that warning. Amanda is humble about her achievements preferring to let her husband “do most of the talking”. There is a noticeable tone of respectful in her words for everyone that supports her racing. She consistently pays tributes to members of her team like Doug Stanford, whom she calls “Big Doug”, by saying that “he’s my go to guy”.
Now, it was time to talk to her…
She also claimed to be shy at first meeting. During our interview however, Amanda was very candid, honest and outgoing. The following is an excerpt from our conversation:
In the past I’ve been accused of missing the obvious, so I’m going to get right to the point. You’re a hottie. Do you think that your wholesome good looks are a blessing or a curse? Do you think men or women (or both) stereotype you right away? ……. Kinda both. I mean…y’know….of course I enjoy it but I think a lot of people don’t ever get past that and get to know me. (As for the stereotyping) Yep. Pretty Much. Mostly men, honestly. It’s hard to say because most of the women at the track are ummm (pauses), How do I put it? Well, let’s put it this way, I’m in the majority at the local racetrack having fake boobs. I’m not in the minority there. So….y’know, a lot of the other women…y’know… put themselves out there. Not in a slutty way, so…y’know……oh..I don’t know.
Are there a lot of women racers at your track and are they as competitive as you? ……. A few. But most of the women I know are the wives of other drivers. There’s only….well it’s hard to say because last year I was running one class and this year I’m not even running that class anymore, and I’d never run that class before last year. So, it’s hard to say. Another girl came out there that had been racing her whole life. She came out there and did really good.
You told us during the photo shoot that guys would prefer that you wear less clothing. How do you walk the line between being a good looking girl and a serious racer putting down those kind of numbers and winning championships? ……. Y’know, I just be myself. I honestly care what other people think or I wouldn’t even put makeup on every day but…I care more about being myself. I’m not comfortable out there in skimpy clothes. So that’s not how I dress. I’m a Tee-shirt and Jeans kinda girl.
By the way – Here is a link to the complete photo shoot with Amanda
I’m seeing a pretty outgoing person here. Tell us about the REAL Amanda Long. ……. I’m only reserved until I get comfortable because I’m self conscience. I’m always worried that people are judging me. Once I know that they don’t care that I am who I am, then I open up. Y’know, because I’m not a typical chick. I am different. I guess that I am self conscience about that around new people. I not nearly as shy as I used to be, uhmm, Donald has brought a lot out of me. Like, even as a teen-ager, I wouldn’t call up and ask for pizza. If I did, I would go and hide in another room where I was not distracted by anybody because I would clam up. I don’t like talking to people that I don’t know.
I’m a bit unconventional…………I’m not always comfortable everywhere. I do feel out of place a lot of places. But, if I’m there, I’m going to be comfortable. If sitting indian style on the chair is comfortable, that’s what I’m going to do. If my feet hurt, and everyone else is standing around at the racetrack. I’m going to sit down on the ground. I’m not going to hurt because it’s not proper for a twenty-seven year old woman to sit on the ground. I don’t care if anyone looks at me funny because I do that.
Your husband Donald has the reputation for being outspoken. Okay, let’s be honest, more than outspoken….Let’s say very protective. What are your thoughts on that? ……. I think it balances out great because I am so shy. A lot of times I’ll let people run right over me. So…He’s there.
Is his reputation deserved? ……. Ummmm, It’s deserved but I think that unfortunately that’s all that some people get to see of him. So they don’t get to see the real Donald. Donald’s the one that stands up for what’s right. Doesn’t matter if it’s about me, him or the drag radial class in general. He’s going to stand up for what’s right, no matter who it clashes with. And some people, that all they get to see.
On yellow bullet he got kind of heated over a comment made about you. How do you deal with that? ……. I just blew off the comment because the guy was obviously just a jackass on there trying to stir shit. I know that I’m not a low class crack whore so……..Yeah, he said I looked like a low class crack whore. Well, I know better so I don’t let it bother me.
FYI -> that thread is located here if you want to check it out.
Do you have a really cool racing nickname? ……. Puddin’. Cause I make a really bad ass banana pudding. It’s my mother’s recipe. I refuse to give out my recipe because it’s all I’ve got. I’m like….without my pudding, I’m nothing.
Let me shift gears then and talk about what we are really here to talk about….Racing. What’s the best part about racing and Why? ……. Winning. (pause) y’know…honestly, let me take that back. The best part about racing is, how do I put it? (long pause) I don’t know….it’s the whole experience. The hangin’ out with everybody, and we cook out everytime we go to the track…..uuummm, this person needs help so you help them. Then the next thing you know you need help and everybody is there to help you. There’s disappointments sometimes but at the end of the day, we cooked out, hung out and had fun.
I liked your gut reaction to the question: Winning! ……. Yeah (laughing) but unfortunately it doesn’t happen every night though.
What’s the worst part about racing? ……. Losing. Especially when it’s something out of your control. It’s one thing to lose ‘cause you’re slower or you slept on the line. Yeah, if I beat myself that stinks or if the car fails ya. Uh, yeah. And I’m not a good loser.
Can you tell us some of the crazy things you did as a teenager? ……. Oh, god, uuhhhhmmm, Staying out to three or four in the morning on exam nights. (laughs). I was literally out till three thirty in the morning on exam night when I had to be up by five in the morning to be at school by seven. I made straight “A”s. At that time I was living with my Mom and she knew that I was out at the street races twice a week but, I made good grades. I went to school each day. I didn’t get in trouble so….
I’ve seen your photos. Where do you conceal a weapon? ……. IN MY PURSE! Donald carries his in his pocket. I… uuhh…stuff doesn’t fit in my pocket. Anyway, one of the things that happened crazy as a teenager was that I almost saw a gun fight at the street races. This one guy was just basically talking crap, and he said “I’m going to go get my chrome” and my friend said “go get it.” My friend had his right there in his pocket. The other guy was just talking. SO…I thought I was going to see a gunfight.
What else do you do for fun besides gunfighting and street racing? ……. I have two dogs that I love more than anything. I don’t have kids. We have “fur kids”. So they’re our babies. I’m involved in dog rescue, and I’m active on several dog related message boards. So I spend a lot of time with that. I also have a couple of fish tanks. I’m getting ready to start a 300 gallon reef tank. It’s probably going to take me several months but…that’s the idea. I only want to do it one time.
Where are you going in your racing career from here? ……. I don’t know. I love the drag radial class. A lot of people think that there’s the pro mod and the ten five being a step up from the drag radial but…I have no interest in it really. Yeah, they’re faster but honestly… no body cares about those classes. Drag radial is way more competitive and there’s more shit talking back and forth. Where if some pro mod guy started talking shit, they would think he’s a jerk. That’s what it’s all about in drag radial y’know.
So you’re in it for the challenge, and you’re not going to back away from the challenge. ……. Nope. The only thing that intrigues me at all about any other class is I would Love to drive NHRA pro stock. That would be awesome but, That’s big money. I really love that class. And honestly, I don’t follow it, I’m not much of a spectator. That’s just not me but, I love the cars. They’re more stock appearing cars. It’s very competitive, they’re all close together. I don’t know, I just really like pro stock.
What about your family. How is your family with all of your racing? ……. Where do I start? Ok. This will get kinda deep here. My parents split on my third birthday. From the time I was six, I lived with my dad and saw my mom just on the weekends. Every other weekend actually. At that time my brother and sister were both grown and out of the house, so I was an only child. Just me and my dad.
My dad encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do, whether it was a boy type thing or a girl type thing. He didn’t care, he was behind me.
I played little league, rode bikes, climbed trees. Dad was right there, he coached me in softball, built me a go cart…….And honestly, I think my dad was more proud of me when I was doing the boy dominated things. Because I could do just as good as the boys could. And my mom would be there to give me the female guidance.
How about Donald’s family? ……. Donald’s an only child, and he is close with his parents. Like, we literally live on the same property. So, we can’t help but be very close. His parents are great. But his Mother did tell me this morning if it doesn’t get put in the article what a great Mother-in- Law I have, that she’s going to shoot me and throw me in the river. (Laughs). From day one I’ve called them “Mom & Dad”. That’s how close we are.
I understand. They’re good people. So tell me, What do they think about racing, underground street racing and gunfighting? ……. Oh we won’t tell them about the gunfight thing. (nervous laugh). His Mom worries. She won’t come to the track and watch. She’s happy that he’s not driving anymore. She’s not into it. She’s the type that if she’s not into it, she doesn’t go.
Being that it is election time, and you’re in Florida which always seems to have some sort of voting controversy I have to ask: Obama or Clinton? ……. OH GOD. Neither
John Force or Ashley Force? ……. Both. You know, I don’t know much about Ashley but she seems to be a nice person, but John’s been around more so I know a little bit more about him. If I had to pick one, I would say him, because I don’t know Ashley that well. I know more about John as a person than I do Ashley. He’s more than just a racer, he’s a good person.
Miami Dolphins or Jacksonville Jags? ……. Dolphins. I grew up loving the Dolphins.
Country or Rock Music? ……. Both.
Rap or Rock Music? ……. Oh man! The direction rap is going …… Rock!
Ford or Chevy? ……. OK. You know I’m obligated to say Ford. Actually, I like both.
Amanda, It’s been a pleasure talking with you. I enjoy it and I think our readers will just fall in love with you. In closing, do you have any sponsors that you want to mention in this interview? ……. I don’t really have any sponsors per se, but I would like to thank BMR, Kris from Nelson Competition, Bodley Fabrication, and Rob and Joe at Ford Speed for all the expertise and help. I’m looking for a fuel sponsor if anyone is interested.
Amanda Long, Our Conclusion..
In conclusion; women in racing used to be rare. What we are seeing now is a class of very determined and very skilled women getting involved in racing. From my perspective, the women that have gotten into racing have made the whole sport better. Quite frankly, they are a lot easier on the eyes as well. When the world of women and the world of racing collided, nothing bad happened. We have Champion women drivers like Amanda Long to prove that theory.
Good Luck Puddin’, you have found a fan here.