At SaltStick, we are proud to sponsor top athletes in the fields of triathlon, running, tennis and jiu jitsu. We are inspired by our athletes and admire the hard work and time they dedicate to achieving success.
Because we hope our athletes’ performances will serve as motivation as you pursue your own fitness and life journey, we enjoy sharing their stories. This week’s blog post features Abbey Callaway, a grassroots rallycross racer, photographer and high school teacher.
Abbey’s racing journey
Abbey Callaway had always harbored dreams of racing, but it wasn’t until she won her first Rallycross race in 2015 that she fell in love with racing motor-sport. Success came quickly: By the end of her first season, she won the Stock AWD Division Championship. The following year, she switched classes to Stock RWD and closed the season out 3rd overall in the Stock RWD Championship.
“I love driving fast cars but maintaining control at the same time,” Abbey says. “Racing is an incredibly exhilarating adrenaline-packed experience. That feeling is why I continue to race.”
In addition to a solid record, Abbey’s success goes beyond the racetrack. At the start of her career, Abbey noticed a lack of female Rallycross drivers and decided she wanted to make a change. With the help of her husband, she started Rally Girl Racing, which focuses on empowering women and new drivers to make the leap into the sport. Through her efforts, she has doubled the number of female drivers that now participate in the SCCA Central Florida Rallycross division.
“I hope to continue to inspire more women to learn how to race and drive stick!” she says proudly.
Rallycross racing is high-speed and high-intensity. Participants compete on a dirt track, often marked by cones, which can lead to sliding and other forms of loss-of-control if the driver is not well-equipped.
To prepare, Abbey spends her weeks performing routine maintenance on her racecar—well before race day. Mental preparation is equally important, and Abbey has worked out pre-race techniques to ensure she’s focused when the gun goes off.
“Once I know what the race track layout looks like, I take a photo of the diagram and study the turns,” she says. “We are also given the opportunity to walk the course to feel the terrain before the race day starts. This helps us to see the difficulty and look out for areas that might give us traction trouble.”
Abbey trains and competes in Florida, where heat stroke is a constant threat, due to high outdoor temperatures, humidity levels and radiating engine heat. She relies on a rock-solid nutrition plan to stay hydrated, which helps improve focus, performance and stamina.
How SaltStick helps Abbey: “My team and I bring SaltStick Caps with us to every race,” she says. “We usually take a few Caps before the race day starts, then a few during the race and at the conclusion of the day along with plenty of water. It’s so important to stay hydrated to prevent heat stroke!”
Like every athlete, Abbey’s motivation rises and falls throughout the season. She’s learned over the years how to stay motivated and push through the tough days to meet her goals.
“I try to keep the larger picture in mind by focusing on the culmination of my season points,” she says. “If I don’t win a race, I still earn points for the place I finished, which gets tallied into my overall season points for the championship. That helps me maintain perspective.”
Advice for novice athletes
While Abbey is thrilled for anyone to try their hand at Rallycross, she’s not afraid to caution newcomers against potential challenges. Instead of diving directly into the sport, she suggests a more gradual approach.
“I would suggest for anyone that’s new to this kind of sport to come out to an event and do a ride along with a competing driver to get an idea of what it feels like and the work that goes into driving competitively,” she says. “It’s also a good idea to start in a stock car class and improve on your driving skills before you start making performance adjustments or modifications.”
Additionally, while the Rallycross community is welcoming and eager to offer advice, the best teacher is experience, Abbey says.
“It takes a lot of practice to get good at this, and the best way to practice is to compete and get that seat time in your car on the course.”