WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Every Saturday Night at Bowman Gray Stadium it's a given that the roar of race car engines can be heard. Not a given in the slightest, that a female driver will win.
That's exactly what happened, though, on May 14 when Taylor Robbins drove to victory in the 20-lap Street Stock race. It's the first time in 18 years that has happened and the 22-year-old from Walburg is only the third woman to accomplish the feat.
Growing up in a racing family, Taylor wasn't the daughter who Brad Robbins thought might follow his footsteps into racing. Instead, it was Taylor's sister.
"She was the tomboy and I was the prissy girly one and my dad always tried to get her to race and she wouldn’t do it but he wouldn’t let me race until I was older and we switched personalities pretty much," Taylor Robbins said.
Taylor started in go-karts, winning lots of races, 10 in one season one year. But what she really wanted was to join her father at Bowman Gray stadium where he drives in the Modified Division.
Brad made a deal with Taylor and they both kept their end of the bargain; if she won the go-karting championship, he'd buy her a race car for Bowman Gray.
And in just her fourth year at Bowman Gray, she's proven to be good at it. She has a fast car that's capable of winning every week, coming close many times.
So during that 20 lap feature on May 14th, with her dad on the radio coaching her along, Taylor took the lead on lap one and never looked back. The advice from Dad to daughter; be calm, don't freak out and don't over drive it.
She led every lap, enduring multiple restarts and a few challengers but it was her race at the end of the 20 lap feature that was shortened by 1 lap due to the time limit rule.
"When the last caution came out and I saw the checkered flag, we got the checkered under caution. Dad didn’t’ see the checkered come out and was like, people are coming in here and telling me good luck and he’s like, oh wait they’re congratulating you! He’s like you won and I was like, I know, I see the checkered!"
"It’s yours, congratulations," her Dad said over the radio.
"Oh My God, I could cry!" she replied.
It was an emotional victory lane and at the time Taylor didn’t quite know what to think, hugging everyone in sight until track flagman Randy Smith told her to go get her picture taken.
"I don’t think it really hit me til like later on that week that I’d won and I was like man, this is cool," she recalls.
The reaction from her fans has been great, too, with people greeting her at her job to bring her copies of the newspaper article about her win and congratulating her.
And while she loves that her growing fanbase adores her, doing this for Dad is where her heart is.
"It’s all like me and my dad’s thing so I think I was more excited to like do it for him, you know what I mean, cause my dad, my guys work so hard they put all their time and effort into this, to see them so happy, it’s like finally we got it."