Collete Davis attended ERAU for three years and frequented events at Daytona International Speedway. Now she’s back as a Rallycross driver.
DAYTONA BEACH — Collete Davis knows the place.
She went to college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for three years before heading west to finish her education. Now, the 22-year-old is back at one of her favorite places in the world, Daytona International Speedway, chasing her passion as a race driver.
Back when Davis attended ERAU, the Speedway was literally at the backyard of the campus and she took advantage of the proximity by attending as many events as possible, sometimes with a pile of resumes.
Red Bull Global Rallycross Fast Facts: Where: Daytona International Speedway Course: Infield asphalt and dirt course with a jump When: Friday through Sunday Tickets: 3-day advance tickets – Adults, $60; children 6 to 12, $15; children 5-and-under, no charge. Friday – Adults, $20; children 6 to 12, $10; children 5-and-under, no charge. Saturday – Adults, $35; children 6 to 12, $10; children 5-and-under, no charge. Sunday – Adults, $35; children 6 to 12, $10; children 5-and-under, no charge TV: 3 p.m. Sunday, Supercar final, NBC Online: redbullglobalrallycross.com, daytonainternationalspeedway.com More info: Call the Speedway at 800-748-7467
“I worked with some of their (ERAU) racing projects,” Davis said. “I met their jet dragster team before joining the university, so there’s definitely a strong racing thread.”
Now, she’s racing, and part of the Red Bull Global Rallycross tour, which has made camp at the Speedway through Sunday’s finals.
The course is a combination of dirt and asphalt, utilizing the international horseshoe turn as the gateway to the dirt portion of the track, which includes the jump.
Davis drives the No. 07 GRC Lites entry owned by Rhys Millen, who won the Daytona Rallycross Supercar inaugural in 2014.
With a season full of Rallycross on her resume, Davis drove for a different team here last year. The energetic driver hopes to showcase her skills at her home track. On Thursday, she was giving media rides on the course, which includes a dirt jump using all 300 horsepower of engine to make the leap.
“We tested at another track Wednesday, and she far exceeded my expectations by putting up a lap time better than my own,” Millen said. “I expect her on-track performance will be very good.
“It’s been a great opportunity to work with Collete as a team owner and her driving coach. We did a lot of off-season testing — and even in the last two races, we’ve seen more speed and confidence from her.”
Davis said the off-season testing has helped increase her speeds in competition this year.
“I learned a lot,” she said. “I made a really big team switch and I really feel like I’m driving the car for the first time. I have learned so much and had an awesome off-season.
“Rhys has really been a great coach and mentor. I feel like I have more of an edge this year.”
With knowledge, comes confidence. With confidence, comes speed. With speed, comes better performance.
“I’m just trying to have fun with it now,” she said. “Every time I get on the track it is awesome.”