#5 Michelle Willingham
Birthday: September 4, 1984 (Petersburg, VA)
Hometown: Dinwiddie, VA
Hometrack: Southside Speedway
Education: Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (VCU)
Sponsors: Willingham Landworks, After Hours Rods and Customs, McCray Electric, Team Greene, George’s Excavating, Earthkeepers Landscaping, Sign Language, Success Drywall, Dale Traylor Band and Standard Parts Corporation.
As a child Michelle grew up playing your typical ball and stick sports – basketball, softball, ran track and even tried her hand at cheerleading! In addition, Michelle always had a thing for auto racing growing up as well. “I had a huge passion for racing because my dad raced out at Southside Speedway,” Michelle told The Weekly Racer. “I was always his biggest fan!” Eventually Michelle’s dad stopped racing at Southside but that didn’t keep Michelle out of the stands! She would continue to go to the speedway with friends, matter of fact she couldn’t wait for Friday nights, that way she could enjoy some home grown short track racing!
It was the year 2012 when Michelle finally returned to the pits, this time in a driver suit and sitting behind the wheel of a UCAR. “A friend allowed me to drive his Ford Probe the last three races of 2012,” said Willingham. “After finishing those 3 races, my dad and I decided we wanted to stick with it and bought our own UCAR.” The two bought a Chevy Cavalier and ran it the complete 2013 season with moderate success. The following year Michelle and her father decided to sell their car to make room for a new Caviler from Bud Allen. The purchase more than paid off for its self as Willingham would go on to win the 2014 UCAR Championship. Etching her name into the record books of South Side Speedway as being the first woman to win a championship in a Co-Ed division.
During the week, when your not working on the car or racing, what do you like to do for fun?
When I’m not working on car or racing, I enjoy working out, spending time with friends and family and traveling.
What are three things you never leave the house without?
I never leave the house without my phone, snacks and water and my purse.
What is or was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject is school was Algebra
If you could pack up and go anywhere in the world for a week, all expenses paid and bring just one person, where would you go? Who would you bring?
If I could go anywhere for a week for free it would be to the Caribbean somewhere and I would take my boyfriend, Joe.
With no discrimination on car brands, what is your favorite manufacture?
My favorite car manufacture is Ford.
Do you follow any other sports during the year? If so what sport and what team do you pull for?
Sports I follow: College Basketball- Virginia Commonwealth University, College Football- Virginia Tech, NFL- Washington Redskins, NASCAR- Carl Edwards
How many states have you travelled to? What about countries, have you ever travelled outside of the US?
I have traveled to Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, California and Puerto Rico.
Everyone has their own thing to do to relax, some people put on headphones and jam to music, some veg out and play video games. What does Michelle do to relax?
In order to relax I enjoy sitting outside on the patio, listening to music and drinking a glass of wine.
Just like everyone has their own thing to do to relax I feel that we all have a guilty pleasure, for me its jamming out to some old school N’SYNC or Britney Spears. What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is trying new restaurants and eating lots of food.
Do you have any TV shows and/or movies that you love to watch?
I enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory, Pretty Little Liars, 2 Broke Girls, How I Met Your Mother and King of Queens.