When their son stopped racing junior dragsters in 2006, Dave and Pam Kuehner underestimated how much they’d miss going to the track.
The love they’d developed for the environment led them to go back with their own ride.
For the past decade, Pam Kuehner has been running her 1996 Chevy S-10 pickup in the Super Street category at NHRA drag races around the Midwest and beyond. It’s a pastime she didn’t really envision herself picking up when she and her husband were trucking their son Chris around the circuit — but, she said, “Once you’ve been bit by it, it’s always there.”
Pam got hooked on racing pretty quickly when she got behind the wheel of Chris’ dragster for a parents’ race at Kil-Kare Raceway in Xenia, Ohio.
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“When you let off, it launches you — even at 85 miles an hour in the junior,” she said. “So you push on the gas to go and it launches you back, and you’re startled, and then you go, ‘Oh, this is pretty cool!’ So you punch the gas again and then you go.”
That race was supposed to be a one-time thing, but after Chris Kuehner gave up racing in 2006 to focus on high school wrestling and football at Center Grove, his parents decided they missed the racing scene and wanted to give themselves a reason to keep going back.
So they bought the S-10 truck — and the question of who was going to drive it was answered quickly.
“She got in it and just loved it,” Dave Kuehner said. “That’s how she became the driver.”
The couple travels every year to each of the NHRA’s North Central Regional races as well as a handful of national events. They’re part of a sizable contingent of drag racers with Johnson County ties — a group that includes the Whiteland-based Shipp family (Randy, Joey and Randi Lyn) and the Skillmans (Ray, Bill and Drew) of Greenwood and Bargersville, among others.
As it turns out, the Kuehners’ accidental racing career led them to their current day job.
When looking for an RV that they could use on racing weekends, they found that it would be more cost-effective to buy one and rent it out when they weren’t using it. A dozen years later, Greenwood RV Rentals & Sales has about 35 motor homes, trailers and campers in its fleet.
“We wanted to own an RV because of racing,” Dave Kuehner said. “We never had any interest in camping whatsoever.”
Strangely enough, the same races that got the Kuehners into the RV business back in 2005 serve as their break from work now.
When you own your own company, there’s no such thing as a true day off — but when Pam Kuehner gets behind the wheel of her truck, she can forget all of her other troubles for just a few moments.
“It’s my stress reliever, believe it or not,” she said. “You get in it, and you can’t focus on anything else except what you’re doing — so for those 10 seconds or 6 seconds, whichever way you’re racing, you’re there.”
The remainder of the NHRA’s North Central Division schedule this season:
Aug. 4 to 6;National Trail Raceway;Columbus, Ohio
Aug. 11 to 13;Lucas Oil Raceway;Brownsburg
Aug. 25 to 27;Beech Bend Raceway Park;Bowling Green, Kentucky
Oct. 20 to 22;Gateway Motorsports Park;St. Louis