Goal accomplished; Alissa Geving takes third Petaluma Speedway title
By Bill Sullivan on Aug 28, 2011
PETALUMA, CA (8-23-11) – There’s an age old saying in the sport of racing; “the race isn’t over until the final checkered flag waves.” However, Penngrove’s Alissa Geving has always been what you call an overachiever since she was a young child. Therefore, in this case the race for the 2011 Petaluma Speedway sprint car championship is over long before the final checkered flag will wave. Yes, Geving has garnered her third home track championship nearly one month before the season is even completed.
“When we decided what our plans were this season I set a goal for myself to win a third Petaluma Speedway Championship,” said Geving. “I remained focused on that goal all season long and we accomplished it with one event still left on the season schedule. I’m really happy about this one. Petaluma Speedway has been a part of my family forever. My grandfather won here, then my Dad won here and to bring home this third title is special for my whole family.”
Following a 5th place finish last Saturday night, Geving extended her point lead in the Petaluma Speedway winged sprint car division to an insurmountable able of 99 points. In one night of racing at Petaluma Speedway a driver can earn a maximum of 58 points. One doesn’t have to be a mathematician to figure out the simple fact that 19-year-old Geving is the 2011 Petaluma Speedway Sprint Car Champion, hands down. She plans to return to Petaluma for the final race of the year on September 10 when she will be officially crowned the division titlist for the third time in her young, successful, racing career.
“I can look forward to the final race of the year and not worry about the points at all,” said Geving. “I’d like to go out there and pick up another win to end the year for my crew and my sponsors. Without all of them I couldn’t have the first championship, let alone a third. My family, my crew and all my sponsors put a lot of effort into this race team and I am very grateful for everything they have given me this year and for all these years.”
As she proudly accepts her third championship of her career, Geving adds another notch of success on her already strong racing resume. Her racing career began in outlaw karts in a successful fashion as she earned the nickname “Chicko” from her father, Gary Geving for one of her aggressive driving characteristics.
“She use to go out there and she would spin her tires almost every time,” Gary commented in a previous interview. “She would do it almost every time she would go out so I started calling her “Slicko Chicko.” After that the name stuck with her and the whole team.”
Like any parents would be, both Gary and Melissa Geving are extremely proud of the success their daughter has had. Not only behind the wheel of her popular #3x Sprint Car but as a true ambassador to the sport and an inspiration to youngsters, especially females, who dream to one day enter the sport of auto racing. While she has had great success behind the wheel, Geving has continued her pursuit of higher education and while she encourages other to follow their dreams, she too stresses the importance of staying in school even after three racing championships.
“I was born with the skills to drive a race car, it was in the genes no doubt,” said Geving. “But just because you are good at one thing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t further educate yourself. Anything can happen in life and you may have to change your plan. I’ve enjoyed encouraging kids that want to race one day but I think it is really important to stay in school and become well educated as well, it will help you for the rest of your life.”
After a successful career as a child in outlaw karts, Geving advanced to winged sprint cars just four years ago. In 2007 she notably became the youngest female in the nation to win a winged sprint car main event at the early age of 15. That same year Geving captured the Rookie of the Year title at Petaluma Speedway and the expectations of the local fans was running high for the years to come as the daughter of former champion Gary Geving was clearly becoming a force to contend with in Northern California. Thus far, Geving has met those expectations.
In 2008 Geving topped her previous world record by becoming the youngest female to win a sprint car driving championship in the nation when she captured the Petaluma Speedway track championship and also earned the Rookie of the Year Award in the coveted Civil War Sprint Car Series. In 2009 she claimed her second driving title with a successful year that resulted in an invitation to the NASCAR Diversity Program and an appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Carson Daly.
In 2010, Geving broke some hearts when it came to the regular fans at Petaluma Speedway as she chose to make her first full season run in the Golden State Challenge Sprint Car Series for 410 sprint cars and defected from the weekly program at Petaluma. At the end of the heavily loaded series schedule, Geving claimed the Rookie of the Year title in the tour and then chose to return to her homeland in 2011 to set her sights on a third track championship. Once again Alissa Geving set a goal for herself, and she not only achieved that goal, she over achieved it.
In addition to the support of her family, Geving has also received great support from a handful of wonderful sponsors through the years. For Geving, many of her sponsors do far more than write a check to have their name on her car. Several of them are hands-on at the track each week helping with everything from scraping mud off the car to communicating with the personable young lady racer before and after her races, offering kudos or encouragement week after week no matter the need may be.
One such sponsor is Melody Tapparo who owns Tillett Tool with her husband Mick. Tillett Tool has been a dedicated sponsor and family friend of Geving’s for several years. Alissa often refers to Melody as "Mom Number Two" as she is right there with the crew, helping prepare the car before and after the races. This all comes above and beyond her financial support of the young driver through the years. Often times the moral support is more rewarding for both parties than anything else.
"We've been sponsoring Alissa and her Chick-O-Motorsports team for several years now. It's hard to put into words how impressed we are by Alissa's dedication not only to her racing and her devoted fans but to her education as well," said Tapparo. "At such a young age she realizes that racing may not last forever and is planning for her future by getting a good education while continuing to pursue her love of racing. She has such a positive spirit that's so infectious that you can't help but have a positive outlook after being around her. She is such a talented driver but does not see herself as better or worse than anyone else. We tell her all the time how awesome she is and even though she is now a 3-Time Champion at Petaluma Speedway, her racing accomplishments never go to her head. She is always the same sweet, do anything for anyone girl that she was when we first met her. We have been blessed to be involved with her not only in a racing capacity, but have received the gift of 3 lifelong friends in Alissa, Melissa and Gary. I couldn't be more proud of her if she were in fact my own daughter."
Another longtime supporter of Geving’s racing career has been Ed Coughenour, the owner of the online superstore Pit Stop USA. From the start of her sprint car racing career Coughenour has provided financial and moral support for Geving as she developed her career. Like Tapparo, Coughenour too is impressed with this third title.
“We are so proud to congratulate Alissa Geving on her third Petaluma Speedway championship. It has been an extraordinary experience watching Alissa’s development not only as an extremely talented driver but as a remarkable young woman as well,” said Coughenour. “Alissa has successfully transcended the boundaries that once existed to become a top contender in sprint car racing. When I first saw her compete at age 15 at Calistoga Speedway I knew that she was something special. Once I met her I knew that we found the new face of Pit Stop USA for our national marketing campaigns. All of us at Pit Stop USA are so proud to have been a part of Alissa’s continued success in racing, but even more grateful to have the opportunity to know this outstanding young woman and have her be part of her organization.”
For Geving, the list of supporting sponsors and fans goes on and on It seems each year a new business comes along that wishes to somehow be part of the Chicko Motorsports experience. This year, longtime San Francisco businessman Jim Offenbach, who owns the Golden Gate Meat Company in San Francisco and Santa Rosa was a newcomer to the side panels of Geving’s competitive sprint car as an associate sponsor.
While he is known for his great success in business, Offenbach is no stranger to the sport of auto racing as and his wife Patricia have been involved in various motorsports venues locally and nationally. The Offenbachs own the well known Golden Gate Racing Team, a NASCAR K&N Pro Seres West team that is associated with Richard Childress Racing Development. For many years Offenbach has followed Geving’s developing career through various media outlets and in 2011 he became a new sponsor.
“Patti and I wish to congratulate Alissa on her third racing championship right here in Petaluma. What a great accomplishment and we are proud to be a part of it this year,” said Offenbach. “For quite some time we had been reading about Alissa and her success as a young driver and we were well aware of who she was and her talents. She’s very talented and a great representative of her sport and supporters. Being involved in motorsports myself, both of those qualities are required to be successful as a driver at any level and in business. She certainly has what it takes to succeed at what she does."
In addition to clinching her third home track title Geving is also currently 4th in the Civil War Series Championship point standings. She is only 67-points out of the lead. Geving has garnered four top five finishes and seven top ten placements in the Civil War Series. She has also won two preliminary heat races. The Civil War Series has three events remaining on the schedule in September with races in Chico, Watsonville and Placerville.
As she continues to compete in the Civil War Series and will return to Petaluma Speedway for the crowning of the championship on September 10, Geving carries the sponsorship of Tillett Tool of Santa Rosa along with the online superstore Pit Stop USA that is based in Petaluma and Napa's Matt Cordeiro Enterprises a and Auto Repairs Unlimited with A1A Performance of Santa Rosa. Associate sponsors include Golden Gate Meat Company North, K&N Filters, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, R2C, Napa Auto Parts, Flowmaster Mufflers, Allstar Performance, Santa Rosa Auto Parts, Simpson Racing Products, 21st Century Health Club, Pro Shocks, ALC Machine and JW Web Design.
To learn more about Alissa Geving visit her official website at www.chick-o-motorsports.com. Chicko Motorsports can also be found on facebook.