When Corry Weller encounters a spare motor part or a dirty racing helmet in her Chandler home, she doesn’t yell at her husband or son to clean up the mess.
Chances are it belongs to her.
Weller, 40, is a short-course, off-road race driver. After strong showings at the UTV class (including winning the 2011 points championship), Weller has moved up to face stiffer competition.
This season, she became the first woman to compete in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series’ Pro Truck class. That means instead of driving a 1,400-pound, 180-horsepower UTV (a modified utility task vehicle such as a Yamaha Rhino) on a tight, twisting race course with 11 other vehicles she’s navigating that same space in a 4,000-pound, 900-horsepower truck.
She said, for the most part, that her being a woman in a sport dominated by men hasn’t been an issue.
“I don’t put myself out there that I’m a girl doing this, or I’m a girl racing against guys,” Weller said. “It’s never been a big deal. Guys don’t mind unless you have people saying, ‘you got beat by a girl’ or the girls are making an issue of it. That’s when it gets annoying. Otherwise they don’t really care. I’ve never really experienced pushback.”
Weller got into racing about 10 years ago. She saw a Supercross (dirt-track motorcycles) race on television and thought it looked like fun. She bought a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle because she thought it would be safer and began taking it to tracks to ride. She liked the speed and the jumps and became hooked. She even met her husband there.
In 2008, she was introduced to short-course racing and began competing in the UTV class. After a couple of successful seasons in that division, she decided it was time to move up.
“It was time to get some real exposure,” Weller said. “While you have some magazine and Internet exposure for your sponsors (in the lower classes), they want to be on television. We thought it was the time to pursue a class that would get our sponsors the maximum amount of exposure they could get.”
One of Weller’s main sponsors is the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery.
Weller used to work as a server at the Tempe Pub. Corporate offices are near it and company executives often eat there. Once they found out Weller raced, the company got involved as a sponsor.
“At Tilted Kilt they like to empower their women,” Weller said. “They like to see them do well and help them come up in the world. I talk to people who are completely surprised by that. Even when I worked as a server, I got a feeling about how the company looks at you and how they value you. I liked the environment there.”
Tilted Kilt remains a sponsor, even though Weller no longer works there. Racing is her full-time job now.
Last weekend’s Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event at Firebird Raceway was her first in the new division. She placed ninth and 10th in the two races for the Pro 4 Unlimited truck class.
Weller said she was pleased with her performance for her first racing weekend in the truck. Prior to competing at Firebird, she had only driven the truck a few times without any other vehicles around.
“The trucks are bigger than I’m used to so I had to get my spatial awareness together real quick,” she said. “In these races there is lot of on-course contact. I had one spinout which was not too bad. I had some good battles with a couple of people. I finished ninth overall on Sunday and I kept all my fenders on. That was my goal, to not roll it, stay off of people and finish in the top 10. Overall, it was a successful weekend.”