Cassie Gannis – Obstacles are Motivators
Michelle Hoskin, January 25th, 2015
This week we were priviledged to chat with Cassie Gannis, a 23 year old female racer out of Phoenix Arizona. At first glance, Cassie appears to be the typical young woman, just starting out in the world. Completing her education, working full-time as a vet tech, and hanging out at race tracks. Wait. Race tracks?
Cassie will be driving the #96 Dodge for Carter 2 Motorsports this February 14th, in Daytona Beach Florida in the ARCA racing series. Cassie also became team owner of her own NASCAR Super Late Model Team #47, placing consistently in the top 5, 2013 to present.
Cassie Gannis (Photo Courtesy of CGR)
Michelle Hoskin: How did you get started in racing? Age? Family support? Other family racers?
Cassie Gannis: I was very young when I had a chance to see NASCAR on TV. I just loved it. I was fascinated by it. My dad raced Dwarf cars as a hobby and my mom took me and my sister to a race. From that point on, all I wanted to do was watch cars go around in circles. My mom tells the story so much better. As my sister use to watch Sesame Street and Barney, all I wanted to do was watch cars go around in circles. I believe I was 3 or 4 at the time. I think my family thought I would grow out of it. But I begged my dad to let me race! Finally when I was about 9 he told me if I could memorize the rules he would get me a used quarter midget. I have dyslexia so that was a huge challenge for me. But after getting the rules down my dad finally got me a used quarter midget and my first race was in South Mountain Park. From there on there was no looking back! I actually was a good swimmer but racing won out by the time I was 14.
M: You were approved for the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona International Speedway for Roger Carter Motorsports (RCM)…first of all – CONGRATULATIONS! Your thoughts on this?
Cassie: When I got the call that I could test, I was thrilled! It was a huge opportunity. It was something I had been hoping for for a long time. As I drove in that first day of the testing and saw the enormous track getting bigger and bigger I was in awe! It just seems so much larger when you are there versus on TV. I have been on California Speedway which is 2 miles but the enormity of Daytona can be overwhelming! NOTE: “We are excited to have such an excellent driver with us at Daytona,” teamowner Roger Carter said. “She performed very well at our test in December and we are proud to have such an excellent driver and role model with our team.” (1)
Cassie (Photo Courtesy of Don Bok)
M: Your best finish?
Cassie: In K&N West I finished 11th at PIR and in my Super Late Model I have won in Tucson. Haven’t raced an ARCA race yet. But I really looking forward to Daytona. During the test my average speed was 181.
M: If you could race one-on-one with ANY driver for 25 laps, who would it be and why that driver/track?
Cassie: Gosh that is a tough question! I guess if I just wanted to have fun I would say my Dad. He is not a pro and never raced beyond Dwarf cars but that would be such a blast!
M: Favorite track?
Cassie: Of Course I love Phoenix International Raceway because it is my hometown track. I can’t wait to race there again!
I also love to race at “The Bullring” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I have raced bandos, legends and on up to my Super there. They treat me like family when I race there. The people of On Pit Road Racing are wonderful and really give me a lot of support. They literally treat me like family! I really love them. I also like Tucson Speedway. I had a lot of firsts there! It also was the place where I met by best supporters, Mike and Heather Yost of ManCaveSite.org.
M: Least favorite track?
Cassie: I really don’t have one. I will race any thing, any time, any where!
M: I know you have faced some medical problems in your life…how have they affected you and your love of racing?
Cassie: I had surgery for scoliosis when I was 15. I had a 50% Left Thoracic Curve that was impeding on my heart and lungs. I have 2 titanium rods in my back about 12 inches long. I have fused from T1 to 12. My back if fine and very strong but on long races I feel the rods and I get sore in that area. For that reason I need a lot of padding in that area in my seat. But other than that I am perfectly fine to race. It did kill me to be out of the racecar for 8 months! I couldn’t wait to get back in the seat! I was supposed to take a year off but my healing and rehab went faster than expected. The only thing I can’t do is a back bend. So there will be no back flips for me after winning!
Cassie (Photo Courtesy of Tyler Sontag)
M: Do you support any charities?
Cassie: No Texting and Driving events are extremely important to me! People just don’t get to not text while driving! The fatalities are totally preventable! I have a program called “Save Lives” where I speak on the issue along with distracted driving and encourage teens, young adults and others to stop the nonsense! I would love to team with a bigger company and share the message.
I also support a variety of charities by attending functions throughout the valley. Most recently I was so proud to be a part of the “Racing Hearts” event benefiting the Halle Heart Children’s Museum along with Nick Firestone, Arie Luyendyk Jr, David Levine and PJ Jones. It is the only museum of it’s kind and is part of American Heart Association. I will be attending the event again this year.
I also speak to individuals like myself who are facing scoliosis surgery like myself. If I can help people with any stress about the surgery they may have then I have done my job.
Another event that is forever in my heart is the loss of the 19 Yarnell Wildland Firefighters. I got to race a memorial car in Vegas with all their names on my hood. I was able to do that because of Jack Carter. It was truly a honor to bring attention to those men. I also like to support all efforts to rescue animals! All my pets are rescues and they are bring such joy to my life!
M: Your favorite NASCAR driver/driver?
Cassie: Gosh I really don’t have a favorite. I guess I am undecided on my very favorite.
Cassie: After graduating HS, I attended Kaplan College and have an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technician. I am currently working full time for a vet hospital in the west valley.
Cassie: My family are my best supporters! I couldn’t do what I love without them and my fans! It has been rough on my family and for that I am forever grateful for them. My mom and dad are wonderful and are really supporters of the team. My dad works on my cars and my mom is known as chicken run because she feeds the team. My sister is also a huge help. She keeps everything organized.
I would also like to thank my sponsors: ManCaveSite.org, InnerDiveDen.com, CoolShirts, and Bell Helmets.
I would also like to thank my fans for the grass root effort they have for making my dream come true! gofund.me/j7lzxg I am truly blessed.
Cassie, Checkered Flag Finish
cassiegannisracing.com/driving.pdf (‘Save Lives’ link)
Also, anyone who is interested in a corporate sponsorship of Gannis should contact Zachary Stultz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please only contact him for serious sponsorships inquiries.