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[13 to watch in 2013]

Kayli Barker, Racetrack Prodigy

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I was pretty much born into this.”—words you would expect to hear from a 15-year-old with a NASCAR license.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Kayli Barker is growing up fast—literally. Only 15 years old, Barker already has her NASCAR license and last August became the youngest female to win a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race. It’s been a meteoric rise for Barker, who’s been racing since 2006, when she finished 46th in the nation in the Bandolero Division at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. She credits her passion to her racer father and remembers helping him tighten and loosen bolts at age 3. “I was pretty much born into this,” she says.

Between races, Kayli keeps a straight-A average and a strict workout regimen. “I watch what I eat—keep to a minimum the chocolate shakes that I have.” Her ultimate dream is to drive for ThorSport Racing with Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, but in the meantime she’s looking for more sponsors to allow her to change vehicle class—from the super stock she has now to something like a super-late model. She also has eyes on a Lucas Oil Modified Series, a Southwest Tour Truck Series or running a Team SLR car. “It’s all just up in the air,” she says, showing no signs of ever slowing down.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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