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Teens on the Scene in Racing

Teen on the Scene, Haley James!

March 29, 2015 by Bridgett Davis


 While most seventeen year old's are planning their weekend social schedule with plans that probably include a trip to the mall or hanging out with friends at the movies we can pretty well gather most do not include a weekend full of testing, qualifying, and eliminations behind the wheel of a brand new Coyote Modified prepared Fox Body Coupe. No stranger to the track Haley James currently a senior at El Dorado High School of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the newest racing sensation to hit the scene, in an epic throw down, made her official racing debut at the season opener of the 2015 NMRA in Bradenton, Florida.

In an impressive showing by any standard this girl not only came out blazing like a boss to set a low E.T. of 8.27 at 164 mph, making her quicker than last year’s champ Frank Varela, but also qualifies as #2 in her class and finishes out as runner-up at her first ever NMRA competing in Coyote Modified. In a class full of veterans not only did Haley exceed rookie expectations but raised the bar in her delivery of top notch class performance.

While Haley admits the juggling of two part-time jobs, maintaining her studies and racing is no easy task she would not have it any other way. Growing up with a passion for speed, Haley garnered some experience in junior dragsters along with time spent behind the wheel of her turbocharged fox body Mustang prior to the NMRA.

In preparation for her entrance into her first season of the NMRA Coyote Modified Class, Haley attended Frank Hawley’s School of Drag Racing where she not only gained invaluable experience, but also earned her NHRA Competition License. Haley’s mentors include her dad veteran racer Dwayne James, John Urist, and Frank Varela who she shares have all played a huge role in her love of the sport.

Piloting a Copper tone 1990 Mustang Notchback powered by a 67mm turbocharged, MMR Coyote engine, supported by a Neal Racing powerglide transmission and Pro Torque converter all atop a Behind Bars Race Car built chassis outside of racing Haley’s interests are pretty normal for a teen her age. Second to racing Haley does enjoy singing and can be seen on YouTube in over one hundred videos two of which Haley proudly sang the national anthem at both the 2014 Bowling Green NMRA and most recently at the 2015 season opener of the NMRA where she also competed in her Coyote Modified prepared Fox Body.  You can (click here) to watch here YouTube videos.

Haley, along with her father Dwayne James.


With many expecting this rookie to rattle under the pressure from the first ever all female burndown between Haley and Rebecca Starkey, to lining up against legends such as Johnny Lightning, Haley handling herself like an old pro without a doubt demonstrated ability and talent beyond her years all the while maintaining both calmness and class when challenged.

If Haley’s performance is any indication of what is to come, competition taking notice, one might considered a few extra test n tune passes at the local track between coming events in preparation for one for sure to throw down one hell of a battle for the win…..

Haley James, Ford Racing Nation’s pick for teen focus of the month. Look for monthly feature showcasing teens in racing. If you or someone you know might be a candidate stop by our Facebook page at and send us your bio for consideration.