Welcome to the second blog post in our “Women in Motorsports” series, where we celebrate the remarkable women who have made their mark in the world of automotives. In this edition, we had the privilege of sitting down with Lynda Jacobs, a true automotive enthusiast who has been immersed in the world of motorsports from an early age. In Lynda’s own words, “Motorsports is more than a thrill; it’s a journey that fuels the soul.” She brings the power of passion and dedication to the forefront, complemented by the unwavering support from her husband, Chris.
Early Exposure to Motorsports
Lynda’s love affair with cars and racing began at an early age, thanks to her father, Joe Turek, who was a drag racer in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She recalls spending countless hours at the drag races, where her father’s injected fuel dragster competed alongside racing legends like the Connie Kalitta and Don Garlits of his days. Reflecting on her childhood, Lynda shares, “Those drag races were my playground, surrounded by the roar of engines and the thrill of competition.”
However, as her family grew and safety concerns arose, Lynda’s father decided to retire from drag racing, shifting his focus to the family’s body and fender shop. Lynda fondly remembers, “It was a bittersweet moment when my dad hung up his racing helmet, but it marked the beginning of a new chapter for our family in the automotive world.” Lynda’s childhood was filled with cars and motorsports, and she even drove rebuilt, non-salvage titled cars from her father’s shop during high school. Motorsports became a core part of Lynda’s family’s identity, extending beyond drag racing to include standard-bred horse racing, ice racing with motorcycles, ATVs, and offshore powerboat racing.
Lynda’s Racing Journey
“Personally, didn’t do a race myself, but I was part of the pit crew.” She was always a part of the racing scene, supporting her family’s involvement in various forms of motorsports. It wasn’t until she met her husband, Chris Jacobs, that she became an active participant.
Lynda and Chris embarked on their racing journey by participating in time trial events, where they raced against the clock on road courses and in autocross competitions. These events allowed them to enjoy the thrill of racing without direct wheel-to-wheel competition. As Lynda passionately shared, “I typically race a 1966 Chevelle. It’s been all updated with newer suspension and LS motor, newer transmission, and everything to make it more a modern vehicle with a classic 1966 body.” These events, often referred to as pro-touring events, don’t involve competing against other vehicles, but are solely based on lap times and precise driving skills.
You can find Lynda and Chris participating in motorsports, particularly in the Midwest, where they live. Their racing season typically begins in April and concludes in October. “Our busy months are July and August,” said Lynda. “It’s a great getaway for us.”
Passion for Car Brands
Exploring Lynda and Chris Jacobs’ car collection reveals a deep love for General Motors (GM) vehicles. Among the automotive gems adorning their collection are two iconic 1966 Chevelles, each with its unique story and purpose. Lynda’s “Wimpy” yellow 1966 Chevelle SS convertible, a trusted companion for 21 years, stands as a testament to both classic elegance and modern performance. Chris’ 1966 Chevelle hardtop boasts a new Roadster Shop chassis with independent rear suspension, LS7 engine, and Viper 6-speed transmission. The collection extends beyond Chevelles, encompassing two square body pickup trucks from 1975 and 1979, currently undergoing meticulous upgrades. A 2018 Z1 Camaro adds a contemporary roar to the ensemble, showcasing the Jacobs’ penchant for the exhilaration of track days and autocross events. A recent addition, a 1972 Trans Am, fulfills a longstanding dream, while 2023 and 2024 GMC trucks stand ready to tow their trailers and haul their cars to shows and events.
Lynda and Chris’ journey in the world of motorsports has been fueled not only by their passion but also by the invaluable support of various companies. Reflecting on their partnerships, Lynda expressed gratitude, stating, “I have to point out that there are people and wonderful companies that my husband and I partner with that helped us tremendously over the years. BF Goodrich Tires, Summit Racing, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Forgeline Wheels, the Roadster Shop, and Mac’s Custom tie-downs. They’ve been there with us for a long, long time. They have been incredible partners, and we’re huge believers in their products and love to tell people about how much they help and support us as well as the car hobby in general.”
Challenges in a Male-Dominated Industry
“Motorsports is primarily male-dominated,” said Lynda. “My experiences have been largely positive. The camaraderie and support I received from my male competitors has been wonderful. They’ve all been extremely respectful, kind, and willing to help.”
She expresses profound sentiments about the strength of the motorsports community and the inclusivity that surpasses gender boundaries.
Inspirational Figures in the Automotive Industry
When asked about women who inspire her in the automotive industry, Lynda mentioned notable figures like Erica Enders and the daughters of racing legend John Force. These women compete professionally in NHRA drag racing, demonstrating their exceptional skills and dedication. “I give them a lot of credit. They’re out there. They are super competitive, and they are very inspirational.”
Lynda also paid tribute to her mother, Lori Turek, who supported her in her pursuit of automotive passions. Reflecting on her mother’s influence, Lynda shared, “When I was growing up, she let me be a tomboy, she let me go do things that boys would do. I rode minibikes. I rode horses. I helped my dad; I was into all kinds of racing. I wasn’t forced to go into the kitchen and cook, which to this day I can’t cook at all. But I was able to at least be a tomboy and enjoy all those things. She was a big inspiration in that, and she really enjoyed racing too. She was always there by my dad’s side all the way through.”
Advice for Aspiring Women in the Automotive World
Lynda’s advice for young women or girls interested in the automotive world is simple: “Chase your dreams.”
She emphasized that today’s opportunities for women in the industry are more abundant and accessible than ever. Whether it’s pursuing a career in engineering, motorsports, or working for leading automotive companies like GM, Lynda encourages young women to follow their passions and explore the diverse opportunities available to them. Reflecting on her own experience, Lynda remarked, “I think back when I was in high school if I would have said that I wanted to go and do welding or learn to be an engineer or get a job at GM, Ford, or Chrysler. People would look at me like I had three heads. But now it’s super acceptable. I would say, if you have a dream, follow it. Nowadays you can do anything.”
Memorable Road Trips and Lifelong Friendships
Lynda recounted some of her most memorable road trips and adventures, including participating in the Optima Ultimate Streetcar Invitational in Las Vegas, where her car was on display at the SEMA show in 2013 & 2017. She shared her experience of road trips with Good Guys and Barrett Jackson, where they explored the beautiful landscapes of the United States while bonding with fellow car enthusiasts. These adventures weren’t about racing to win but rather about enjoying the journey, the people they met, and the scenic beauty of the country. As Lynda eloquently put it, “It’s the connection with the people and the wonderful community that makes these road trips truly special.”
Lynda and Chris both emphasized the strong sense of community in the motorsports world. They have made lifelong friends through their shared passion for cars and racing. They described how the motorsports community is always willing to help and support each other, even in the most competitive of events.
The Future of Women in Motorsports
Lynda and Chris are hopeful about the growing presence of women in motorsports. As more women enter the scene, the motorsports community continues to expand and diversify. They believe that young women can succeed in the industry, and they encourage aspiring female racers to be proactive, chase their dreams, and seize the opportunities available to them.
Lynda Jacobs’ journey in motorsports exemplifies the power of passion, community, and lifelong friendships. Her experiences serve as an inspiration to all young women interested in the automotive world, illustrating that possibilities are limitless, and the bonds formed within the motorsports community are enduring. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, women like Lynda are making their mark and paving the way for future generations of female racers.