No matter the division or the faces comprising the large fields of any given stock car league, there are numerous stories that accompany these heroes of the track.
Some have relatively easy paths to success, while others struggle for years until they finally experience the absolute highest moment of their careers.
Candace Muzny's story involves family, determination, and sheer focus with her stock car experience. As a regular competitor in the NASCAR Late Model Divisions and Pro Series across the states, this young woman knew her destiny at a relatively young age.
Having surrounded herself with cars and motorsports for as long as she could remember, it was all just a matter of working toward her goal to become a racer.
Whether she was drag racing with the boys after school or tinkering with cars at her father's gas station in Oklahoma, there was only one cure for this illness that Muzny had: NASCAR racing.
Fast speeds on the brink of losing control?
Muzny absolutely lives the sport through the passion of a fan and the heart and soul of a racer, highly-spirited and confident about achieving her dreams and aspirations.
With all the support she gets from her family and friends, Muzny knows it is a sport that requires everyone's devotion and guidance along the way.
It's a guy's sport, right?
There's no doubt that she knows that this sport is for any one with skills and a love for exciting, side-by-side action at tracks of various degrees and elements that can get the best of a seasoned veteran. She is absolutely here to stay and to make it for the long run.
Because there's nothing like victory of all kinds!
Last Saturday night at Irwindale, Calif., racing fans across the globe and at the track were introduced to new names and faces of NASCAR in the Toyota Showdown.
One of those new names included Muzny, who piloted the No. 62 West Coast Choppers/K&N Filters Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS owned by Jamee Price.
Running a good, clean race just outside the top-10, Muzny's solid performance was derailed by a late-race accident that took her out of contention.
Despite that disappointment, her performance in "The Daytona 500 of Tomorrow's Stars" shows that there is much potential and promise with this budding stock car star.
When Muzny makes it to the Cup Series, remember where she came from in 2010. As she often does in attributing her successes and lessons in life, this Oklahoma City native always reflects on how her family and supporters have always remained by her side. Her journey to the Sprint Cup series will be one to talk about in the coming years.
Don't mistake Muzny as just a pretty face who gets to race. This talented driver has the stats that indicate that wins are just around the corner, logging in seven top-fives, 55 top-10s, and 92 top-20 finishes in 94 starts throughout her five-year career across various stock car ranks.
Also, she knocked on the door of Victory Lane, including a runner-up at Hickory Speedway last August.
Every year, Muzny keeps on diggin' as they say in NASCAR, knowing that believing in herself and the people around her can go a long way between finishing up front or placing in the rear of the field.
With remarkable improvement every year, it's a matter of time until the top-three national series have Muzny as a regular competitor for their championship quests.
After interviewing this incredible young sensation, Muzny reminds me of why we should keep at our dreams, no matter the difficulties and set backs we experience along the way.
With strength and courage like she has, about anything we have in our mind can be accomplished, no matter how long it takes.
It is my absolute pleasure to bring B/R Nation yet another exclusive interview with one of today's prospects of NASCAR, who all have a story to tell us. Enjoy getting to know Candace Muzny, who will surely be racing at a local short track near you!
Rob Tiongson: Last Saturday night's Toyota Showdown at Irwindale, Calif. introduced NASCAR fans to some new faces that are certainly becoming household names like yourself. Tell the B/R Nation a bit about yourself. Also, tell us how you started your racing career.
Candace Muzny: I rented a Mechanix Wear Speed Truck from Tom Merritt at the Bullring in Las Vegas, starting 39th and finishing 14th in 2002. I couldn’t wait to race again.
I met Del Dalrymple who helped me learn about racecars and how to race Late Models at Mesa Marin Speedway, Orange Show, and Irwindale Speedway, Calif.
Then, I moved and set up shop in Mooresville, NC, the heart of racing, which I couldn’t be happier. This place is a racer's heaven on earth!
RT: Just glimpsing over your biography on your website, you seem to be a very determined young woman. Did you catch the racing bug at an early age or was it something you realized you wanted to pursue as you got older?
CM: I grew up going to the local dirt track and always loved the roaring of the motors and intense speed. Since I was four, that’s truly what I wanted to do.
In high school, I worked at my dad’s Texaco and loved to get dirty working on cars. I got a motorcycle when I was 14.
Then at 16, when I got my driver’s license, I drag raced all the boys around town and rarely got beat.
I put my dreams deep in my heart until I got older and wanted to pursue it to see where it would take me. I wanted this more than anything ever before.
RT: Currently, you compete in the NASCAR Late Model Divisions, racing at venues like Orange County Speedway, Tri-County, and Hickory. Certainly those aren't your easy, pedestrian-like tracks to race at. How do you prepare yourself to tackle some of America's toughest and competitive short tracks?
CM: I work out vigorously! Run go-karts when I can with my Crew Chief, L.W. Miller, work at the shop to get everything prepared and up and keep the cars to go racing. We try to test at least once a week! I play my NASCAR game on PlayStation, not as much as I’d like, and stay focused and work on becoming the best racer I can be.
RT: You grew up in Oklahoma City, which seems to be in a region where some of the newest racing sensations seem to reside in or have lived at in some point in their lives. Did you have any heroes in auto racing from the region?
CM: Joe Madore and Wolfgang were my favorite sprint car drivers to watch when I was younger.
RT: Off the track, what do you enjoy doing most? Are there any particular things you like to do to balance out the intensity of a race weekend?
CM: I love my cardio kickboxing, water skiing, and honestly, mowing my yard seems to relax my mind. It's my yard and it is very peaceful. I have a symphony of crickets to listen to every night! Also, I love to hangout with my Newfoundland big dog "Sir Drake Alexander." He's the joy of my life!
RT: Going back to the Showdown at Irwindale, how was it like to go out there to race against the likes of Joey Logano, Steve Park, Matt Kobylock, Jason Bowles, and Ryan Truex?
CM: First, it's always a pleasure to go back to one of my home tracks like Irwindale and see all the familiar faces. It was fun and I was excited to be racing with that kind of talent. But I know in my heart I can run with these boys. They are drivers just like me and I feel that if they can do it, so can I.
RT: Some racers say that when they're out on the track, they experience some fear in their cars at full speed. Others say that those who feel scared behind the wheel don't belong out there. As for you, are you a no fear, let's race no matter what type of driver, or do you keep the danger factor in the back of your mind?
CM: I have had my fair share of crashes and fear has never been a factor. No, I am definitely not scared. I love the thrill, excitement, and the challenge every time I strap in the seat.
RT: Having progressed your way up the Late Models Division of NASCAR, what are your short-term goals with your career, as well as long-term expectations?
CM: My dream season this year would be to run some NASCAR K&N East or West Series as well as Pro Cup Series, a bit of ARCA, and in between all that, run my Late Model Stock to ensure that I am getting as much seat time as I can. My future plans are to make it the NASCAR Cup Series and truly race with the big boys.
RT: While we have made some huge progress over the past decades with women in racing, I'm sure you've had your share of disbelievers and naysayers who might tell you, "But this is a man's sport! NASCAR isn't for women!"
What do you tell those people in response as a way to say, "Well, this is for any racer, no matter the race or gender?"
CM: They are entitled to their opinion, but I am here to prove them wrong!
RT: Free Association time here for you, Candace...it's the ultimate test for you! Well, maybe not, but we shall see. Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind with the following, alright?
CM: Means everything to me!
CM: My dream that I will succeed (at).
CM: Yes, yes, yes I can!
RT: West Coast Choppers.
CM: My buddy Jesse James.
RT: A good day is...
CM: ...breathe & live another day!
CM: Life is what you make it!
RT: Best music to me is...
RT: If I wasn't a racer, I'd be....
CM: ...not an option!!!
CM: Love and happiness.
RT: Place you'd like to visit.
RT: Now some drivers out there have a post-race victory celebratory routine, such as burnouts, flips, or the Polish Victory Lap. What would be your sort of trademark move when you win?
CM: Kneel and give a kiss to God for allowing me to live my dreams, and spring to my feet, waving to my fans!
RT: Having been racing for some time, what has been the greatest advice that anyone has given you?
CM: Work hard, race hard, and one day it will all just click!