You know what's funny?" Karen Davis laughs, as she pulls the driving gloves off her hands after another quick run around the autocross course in a parking lot at Glendale Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Some of these guys will look at you and I know what they're thinking, 'Look at that girl. She thinks she can race a car.' And you go out there and beat them. It just embarrasses the hell out of them. You're winning. You're beating these guys. And it makes them feel silly."
Karen Davis isn't a person you can easily stereotype. She's feminine, just take a look. She's a car person, just take a look. Still, Karen, who will turn 42 on June 1st this year, hasn't been a car person all her life. She's quick to admit that her husband got her into what she calls "Corvetting." Her favorite thing to do is race.
"He said try it once and see if it's something you like. You're either going to love it or not going to like it."
You might say Karen took to Corvettes like a duck takes to wate, but car shows are not her thing.
"If I can't be speeding around the track, forget it. I didn't get the car for a trophy. I got the car to have fun in."
Karen speaks of her black '02 Z06. She was autocross champion this past year in their N.C.C.C. Region of Arizona and New Mexico. She took first place in her class and her husband, Jim, took first place in his, both driving this same vehicle.
We took a ride around the autocross course with this lady. She was the fastest street Vette. Four years into the sport and she's getting better every year. Few men can beat her times around a course, low speed or high speed. She runs both.
Good health is big part of Karen's life and fits her Corvette life style. She's never had a weight problem, but at 40 decided to "firm back up and lose body fat to better my health."
"I quit smoking New Year's Eve, not last year, but the year before, so it's been 13 months since I quit smoking....."
Then, after a short pause, Karen recounted and said, "No, 14 months, actually. And the middle of May last year, I started working out, so I've been doing that about nine months.
We should all make such excellent changes. She looks as good as ladies half her age, but listen to the work it takes.
"I go to the gym Monday through Friday, from 7 to 9 p.m. I do cardio every day. I lift weights every single day. Legs one night and abs the next, then arms and shoulders and back the next night. And I do the stomach every single night."
One more big change is a new diet. Karen explained, "I gave up all meat, all chicken, and turkey. The only meat I eat is fish. I gave that up June 1st of last year, about the time I started pumping iron. I wanted to get in good shape and take care of my health. I'm at that danger zone. Women over 40 start having problems, I just didn't want to be one of them."
Her personalized license plates, "NASTY1", raise eyebrows and give an insight into the good natured character of this Corvette lady.
Actually, the Davis' first Vette, about five years ago, was a '79 L82, black, and nasty looking because it was vandalized.
"So, we got NASTY1 plates for it. The rest of our Corvettes have been black, meaning like bad and tough. After that we just started calling them all nasty ones cause they've all been black", Karen explained.
The '79 L82 four-speed was strictly for everyday driving. Next came the '87 black coupe, automatic, the first Corvette Karen and Jim raced. Next came a '90 six-speed convertible, followed by a '91 ZR-1, a '95 automatic, and a '99 fixed roof hardtop six-speed.
Karen considers their latest Corvette, the Z06, which their red hashmark trademark on the left front fender, the greatest one yet.
"We've done that on every black Corvette we've had since the Grand Sport 1996s came out. We had a '02 Z51 Suburban and we put the hash marks on that also. Our black trailer? We put the hash marks on it. It's kind of like our thing. Everybody knew it was our car. That was the Davis' trademark and you would not believe how many people have started putting hash marks on their cars."
Karen holds her own in Corvetting with her local "Another Corvette Club" where she lives in Peoria, Arizona. She'd like to see other women, single, married, young, old, grandmothers, whatever, join their local car club and enjoy Corvettes. For these women, she offers words of encouragement.
"I think a lot of women don't think the car hobby is for them. They don't feel like they have a right to take part. I think it's wrong for them to feel like they have to sit off on the sidelines. They can be out there doing everything their husbands or male friends are doing. It's not a gender type of a sport. If you can drive a car on the street, you can race it on the track."
Karen does. She challenges the men and enjoys beating them on the track.