The term “dragster” gets tossed around like a bad joke. It’s not about Nissan GT-Rs with an engine map, it’s about bespoke speed machines running on racing fuel. 16-year old Taylor Hanus definitely gets it, as she’s the youngest person we know who can handle the raw power of a 496ci Super Pro ’69 Camaro.
She started young and worked her way through the rookie ranks, eventually earning the rights to this blue beauty, which belongs to her grandfather Jack Van De Voorde.
Growing up with quarter mile racing in the family certainly helped, but only when she sat in the cockpit of a junior dragster did things click. “Papa Jack” then knew exactly what to get her for her 14th birthday, which was near Christmas. He and Taylor’s father Charlie surprised the youngster with an all-day Jr. dragster lesson in February at Doug Foley’s Drag Racing School in Florida.
Once everybody saw that she had the right stuff, the teen got the key to an awesome Camaro with a big-block engine, that hadn’t been driven professionally since 2010. Last year, during her debut, Taylor became the youngest person ever in the Super Pro class at her home track Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.
By the end of the year, she managed to pull a 9.04 run at 148.05 miles per hour, but that’s only the beginning. Miss Hanus is looking to get into the 8’s, and by the looks of things, she’s ready to do it.