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PRINCETON, Minn. - It takes grit to be a leader on the race track, something Gabby Volkers knows as well as anyone.

Six summers ago she became one of the few women to race competitively at Princeton Speedway.

She recalled the first time her name was called.

"I don't know if they think that it was some nickname for a guy, but they announced me as Grabby Volkers" she said.

She laughed off the butchering of her name. Nineteen titles later she's still laughing -- all the way to victory lane.

Volkers won her latest race in the Hornets Division on Friday and is on track to make it 20 wins this weekend.

"I guess I'm the crew chief," Gabby's dad, Scott Volkers said laughing.

Gabby has been in the fast lane all of her 21 years, Scott said proudly. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict in just three years while trying to keep up with her race car uncles.

"She is not afraid to go after the guy in the front. That doesn't bother her one bit at all and I think she's proven a point," Scott said.

Just a half century ago at Princeton Speedway women could only participate in one race. Today, Gabby can race in whatever division she wants, but to move up she needs sponsors. So far, finding the financial backing hasn't been very easy.

"It's an automatic default that people think that women aren't as good of drivers as men. With that, companies are thinking it may be a risk to sign a sponsorship with this car," Gabby said.

Currently, she has two local sponsors, Martini Auto Parts in Avon and Tiremaxx Service Center in St. Joseph.

New sponsors or not Gabby said she's going to keep racing and leading the way for other young women.

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