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Rambo not afraid to mix it up with boys at speedway

One would think that after traveling hundreds of miles per week as asales representative for a paint company, Rebecca Rambo would head for thenearest easy chair, hot tub or massage table on weekends.

Instead, she racks up several more miles, in an atmosphere more intensethan a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour.

Rambo, 31, is the only woman stock car driver at the Southern OregonSpeedway, and she's having the time of her life.

I love it ­ it's more fun than I ever imagined, saysRambo, who competes in the ministock division.

Rambo's 1976 Toyota Celica was demolished in a three-car pileup lastSaturday, but track promoter John Skinner will provide her with anothercar for tonight's races.

Although Rambo has yet to win a main event, she has earned the respectof her fellow drivers. She won the trophy dash on Memorial Day weekend,added a heat race victory the following week and has finished as high asthird in a main event.

She stood fifth in the ministock point standings two weeks ago and currentlyrates eighth among 34 drivers in the division.

I think she's surprised a lot of people by how well she's doing,says Steve Rambo, Rebecca's husband, mechanic and No. — fan. She'sgot some natural ability as a driver and she's not afraid to get after it.

I think there were some reservations by some of the guys the firsttime she was out there. I think they thought she would just get in the way.But it didn't take long for her to get their respect.

It was Steve Rambo's idea for Rebecca to get behind the wheel of a racecar. He bought the Celica last December as a Christmas present, rollingit into the front yard on Christmas morning.

It was a complete surprise, says Rebecca Rambo, who playedvolleyball in high school. I drove in the powderpuff race last yearand we joked about me getting a car, but I had no idea he was serious.

Steve Rambo also competes at the speedway but ruined his pro stock caron opening night. He finally has another one ready and will bring it tothe track for the first time on Saturday night.

The Rambos' driveway, garage and yard resemble gasoline alley, what withfour race cars, a pile of tires and a smattering of parts lying around.

Tiny specks of red paint dot the driveway where Steve spray-painted theMonte Carlo he will take to the track this week.

It had been lying in a field just down the road for years,he says. I've had my eye on it.

Although the Rambos don't invest nearly the amount of money into theirrace cars that some people do, expenses add up in a hurry with both of themcompeting. To support their hobby, both work fulltime jobs during the weekand part-time jobs on Sundays.

Steve Rambo works at a bakery at 6 a.m. on Sundays, a short turnaroundfrom the night before when he and Rebecca rarely leave the speedway beforemidnight.

But the couple will need the extra dough to buy another car for the speedway'slone female racer.

AUTO EXTRAS

The popular destruction derby makes a return to the track tonight, andchances are someone named Haudenshield will emerge as the winner. RogerHaudenshield of Central Point and nephews Vic and Steve Haudenshield ofKlamath Falls took three of the top four spots during the last destructionderby on May 3.

Wyatt Lotz, who stands 12th in the ministock point standings, has donatedall of his winnings this season to the Salvation Army.

Lotz showed his generosity in another way when he provided a firesuitto a fellow driver who couldn't afford one.

Stock car drivers and fans are known for their generosity but thisguy has taken it a step further, Skinner says.

Mike Caplinger became the sixth winner (in seven weeks) in the modifieddivision last week when he breezed to victory in the 30-lap main event.Defending points champion Tom Glover is the only driver to win as many astwo events.

Jim Walker Jr. has opened up an 89-point lead in the pro stock division,but runner-up Cal Lanfear is making his presence felt. Lanfear chased Walkerthroughout last week's 25-lap main event and lost by just two car lengths.

Rambo not afraid to mix it up with boys at speedway