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National Anthem Singer a Pretty Good Driver, Too

Thursday, 29 June 2017

She comes from Campobello, S.C. in Spartanburg County in the South Carolina upstate.  The 2010 census counted just over 500 residents, but one of the town’s families has contributed several race car drivers and one gifted singer to International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) events. 

Meet the Volkman family: IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship drivers Emily, Mike and their daughter Case, 16, a Junior Dragster driver who sings the National Anthem at the events she attends.     

“A lot of patriotism comes out when I sing the Anthem,” Case Volkman said.  “I sing it at basketball games at school, and it means a lot to me.  You want someone to do a good job when they sing the National Anthem.  The fact that Josh (IHRA Division Director Josh Peake) always wants me to do it makes me very proud that people think I do a great job doing it.”  

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“She’s in the chorus at school and has had private voice lessons,” Super Stock driver and mother Emily Volkman said.  “We’re involved with musical things through our church, and I think I mentioned to Josh sometime that she liked to sing the Anthem.  Honestly, I think we were late showing up to a race one time because she had chorus concert, and Josh said, ‘What do you mean?  Case is singing?’ Not a lot of people associate girls in a race car with girls in Miss Cardinal Pageant and singing in a chorus at school.

“Josh said, ‘Hey let her sing the Anthem.’ Since then, when we’re at a race, it’s just kind of what goes on. I love the fact that she’s so well rounded.  She’s on the competition cheer team, she’s on the weightlifting team, she drag races, she’s in cosmetology school through her high school, she’s done two beauty pageants through school, she plays the violin – she’s a really well rounded kid.  No matter what she picks in life, she has a lot of things that can make her happy.”

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But Case is a pretty good race car driver, too.  She’s a Junior Dragster fixture for a couple more years before moving onto bigger cars.  Case just might be happiest when she’s behind the wheel at her home track in Greer, S.C. or wherever the family happens to be racing on a given weekend. 

“I was two weeks old when I went to my first race so it’s just something I’ve always done,” the younger Volkman said.  “I’m nervous most of the time, but I know I can do it.  It’s crazy because all my friends here are guys, and it’s fun when I whup ‘em!” 

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She hopes to drive a Quick Rod car someday, but as long as she gets to keep driving, she’ll be happy – drag racing and music are clearly her comfort zones.


“I’m pretty OK with just Stock and Super Stock even if I don’t get into Quick Rod or anything like that.  My friends here honestly mean more to me than the people at my school just because I grew up with all of these people, and they have the same passion I do.  People at school don’t understand drag racing.  It’s really hard to explain what you do to someone that has no idea what you’re talking about.  I can talk to the people around here about our cars for hours, and we always have something to talk about.” 

“I never worry about her – I believe in my heart that she’s safer in this car than she is driving down Interstate 85,” Mom said.  “We didn’t let her start until she was nine, and she made lots of runs down the driveway before she started racing for real.  As sure as you can be with a nine-year old, but she’s very oriented to what’s around her.  She’s not a dingy little blond girl. She’s grown up at the race track so she knows the ins and outs.  She knows what to do if there’s a crisis.  I’d put in my Super Stocker today and never blink an eye.  She’s actually made a couple of passes in my nephew’s stocker that my Dad also owns.  She likes a dragster so we’ll explore Quick Rod.  That’s a little out of our range of knowledge because we’re class racers, but if that’s what makes her happy, we’ll figure it out.”  

Last modified on Friday, 30 June 2017
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