Carson City, NV native Mackena Bell will make her NASCAR Nationwide series debut driving the Rick Ware Racing No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro in the DAV200 “Honoring America’s Veterans” race at Phoenix International Raceway, November 8. The 24 year-old racer will be one of only a few female drivers to compete in the Nationwide series, following in the footsteps of notable drivers Patty Moise, Erin Crocker, Joanna Long, Jennifer Jo Cobb, and Danica Patrick, who’s now a Sprint Cup regular. Bell is also the only female graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program to race in the Nationwide series and the first female owned and driven operation with team owner Dr. Jennifer Satterfield.
Mackena Bell began her career in Outlaw Kart racing at 11 years old . She simultaneously earned Rookie of the Year honors while taking the 2002 Super Outlaw Dirt Kart – Box Stock Division – Thunderbowl Speedway championship in her first racing season. She moved up in the series, placing in the top 3 in several divisions and was the youngest competitor and only female to win the Legends Championship after her 2005 move to the Asphalt Legends Car 1250cc class at Thunderbowl Speedway, earning her Rookie of the Year accolades as well.
Mackena joined the NASCAR Whelen Super Late Model Series and entered the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program in 2009 with Position One Motorsports at Irwindale Speedway in California. She made history as the only woman to post a podium finish in track history, as well as finishing the series 8th in points.
In 2010, she moved east to Mooresville, NC, joining the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & Whelen Late Model Division with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program and Revolution Racing. She raced the series through 2013, finishing as high as 8th in points before moving up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Division. In 2013, she finished in the 13th position in points for the Pro East series, and has finished as high as 8th in events this season.
But the young driver has her sights set even higher. With a strategic move to the Nationwide series, Bell will earn certification by NASCAR to run bigger tracks, expanding her opportunities to teams in ARCA, Camping World Truck, and Nationwide series. She is currently seeking funding to make the move more permanent.
Rick Ware Racing, the team Mackena Bell will drive for at her Phoenix debut, has earned the nickname “The Biggest Little Team in Motorsports.” This is fitting slogan also for a driver who grew up near Reno, and Bell is eager for the team’s start. Rick Ware Racing has campaigned cars in Nationwide series, the Camping World Truck series, the ARCA series, the Trans-Am series, and also AMA Arenacross motorcycles. Former drivers include Kerry and Jeffrey Earnhardt and Bobby Hamilton Jr.