Sisters: Born to Race

June 8, 2021

A cheering crowd, roaring engines and adrenaline-filled racers are just part of a typical Saturday for Katie Wood, Customer Service representative and her sister, Kylee Wood, Customer Service associate.

Every Saturday from April through October, you’ll find these siblings – along with other family members – at Midvale Speedway in New Philadelphia, Ohio. But they’re not there to watch the stock car races: they’re at the track to win them.

“Racing cars isn’t just a hobby for my family; it’s a lifestyle,” said Katie. “I became interested in racing at a very young age. Our father has raced since he was 13 years old. As kids, we would hang out in the garage helping with the cars and learning more about the sport.”

Katie’s car, “It’s in the genes.”

Kylee agreed. “We race every Saturday as long as the weather is good. I’ve been around racing since I was born, and I love it.”

Stock-car racing was not always considered a hobby. During the U.S. Prohibition period, moonshiners needed cars capable of outrunning the law when transporting illegal liquor. To do so, they upgraded their regular cars with faster engines while maintaining an ordinary look to not draw attention.

Now, stock-car racing is a sport worldwide with the American NASCAR and the NASCAR Cup premier series of professional racing. True stock-car racing uses street vehicles that can be bought by the public and is sometimes referred to as “street stock.”

“My street-stock car is a 1980s Monte Carlo that I started racing in 2018,” said Kylee. “Since then, I have won two feature races and four preliminaries. I currently stand third in points in the street-stock division.”

When the sisters aren’t indulging in their favorite hobby, they are serving FirstEnergy customers: Katie at the FirstEnergy Contact Center in Fairlawn; and Kylee through our Customer Self Service department. Kylee started at FirstEnergy in 2018 and later told Katie about a job opening. Katie applied and was hired as a contractor before becoming a full-time employee in 2019.

Kylee with her car and one of her trophies.

Both sisters said racing cars is an important part of their lives for many reasons.

“For me, it’s a great get-away from everyday things,” said Kylee.

Katie said it’s also a great outlet for her – as well as spending time with her family.

“Racing brings our family closer together. A typical race day can range from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and if it’s a long race 1 or 2 a.m.,” she said. “Not only is this great quality time with family, it’s also an outlet for me to get away from all the constant stressors in life. When you strap on your helmet and tighten your seat belts, nothing else matters.”

The Wood family at a racing event. L.-r.: Katie; mom, Marie; Kylee; and dad, Dennis.