Road course champion takes on the oval

Michelle Nagai to race at All American Speedway
By: Jeannie Broussal, Special to The Press Tribune
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She's not your average girl. Besides her family and her dogs, car racing is her life and after nine years of road course racing, Michelle Nagai is up for a new challenge. On Saturday night she will be racing a NASCAR Late Model at All American Speedway. That challenge is racing on an oval track for the first time in her life. Nagai is excited to race in the Whelen All American Late Model Series at AAS. She was only able to race three double race weekends last year due to economic reasons, and she's ready to get back behind the wheel. "I'm really having fun," Nagai said. "We're putting a little fun back in our racing." Nagai has been doing some kind of racing since she was a teenager. She was a Pro Jet Skier on the Budweiser Jet Sports Tour and won multiple championships in the Pro Men Modified division. She also spent time racing in offshore powerboats and then in shifter carts. She met her husband Steve, who is the tire specialist on her team, while racing jet skis. They married in 1993 and make their home in Loomis. In 2002 the family purchased two Southwest Tour Stock Cars and she raced for seven years in the SCCA Road Race Series and the American Stock Car Series at Laguna Seca, Infineon and Thunderhill Raceways. In 2005 she was runner-up in the GT 1 class, in 2006 and 2008 she was the GT 1 champion, and in 2007 she was the Super Production champion. . Nagai is used to being on the pole and winning races and championships, so getting used to driving on an oval will require patience. She said she feels comfortable in her Late Model and is ready to go racing. “After watching the Late Models run here at Roseville last year, I know I have my work cut out for me," she said. "This is a whole new challenge, coming from the road course racing. Josh Bews has been a lot of help coaching me at the track and working with the crew. We feel ready and can’t wait to race”.