In a lane of her own: South Tahoe alum Snyder continues to break down barriers in NASCAR
In the highest level of NASCAR racing, Liz Snyder is the only female mechanic in the garage. While doing what she loves in the Sprint Cup Series, Snyder is paving the way for more women to join the racing ranks.
“We’re trying to get more females in because there’s no reason they can’t do it,” the 26-year-old South Tahoe High alum said. “If they love working on cars and have a passion for racing, we want them to be able to come in and not have stereotypes.”
Snyder works as a tire specialist and mechanic for Tommy Baldwin Racing and its No. 7 Sprint Cup car, driven this season by Regan Smith. In April, she was featured on NASCAR Race Hub’s “Women in Wheels” segment televised on Fox Sports — and shown in an old photo donning a South Tahoe Middle School sweatshirt.
On Sunday, June 26, Snyder returns to the West Coast for the Toyota – Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. While preparing for the road race, she talked to the Tahoe Daily Tribune about her career on the track:
What is your role with Tommy Baldwin Racing?
I do tires strictly for Tommy Baldwin. I’ll do everything tire-related for them. Whenever we’re at a race with another team, I’ll also go over and change tires in the other series as long as it doesn’t interfere too much with what we’re doing on the Cup side. It gives me the chance to do a little bit of everything.
What do you consider the hardest part of the job?
I’m usually very busy — when I’m at the track, I’m constantly going. My average is usually 5-8 miles walking a day on any given weekend, between running tires and everything else.
How do you train to prepare for a typical weekend?
I usually go to the gym in the morning before I go to work, about 6:15 a.m. I’ll do 10 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical or bike depending on what my mood is that day, and I do a lot of squats, arms and different weight workouts after. Sometimes my day starts then and I don’t get home until 8 p.m.
How physically demanding is running tires?
The tires are roughly 80 pounds at most tracks — that’s over half my weight and I usually need to stack them over my head. If I’m wheeling four, it’s over twice my weight and going up hills is not the easiest task when I can’t see over the tires.
How does the road course at Sonoma compare to a typical track?
It’s good because it’s different, but it’s also a little more nerve-racking because there’s so much more that can go wrong during a road course race. If you go off track, odds are you’ll be getting towed to the garage. Regan has some good history at road courses, so we’re hoping for a good race.
How nice is it to have a race closer to your hometown?
It’s fun because normally my family doesn’t get to come to the track, and this is the closest for them to come. They always see me in pictures, articles and sometimes on TV, but it’s not often that they get to come to the track and watch me work.
Where would you like to see things go this season?
Hopefully we get a couple wins and even a championship — it would be nice to win this year, and we’re trying to get our program turned around so we can do that. I’d like to get a win changing tires.
Is there anything you’re doing to promote women in racing?
I try to be very active on social media (@LizSnyder6 on Twitter) and reach out to those younger programs. Every time I see little girls at the track, I’ll always try to take a picture with them and talk with them. There are so many girls that go to the track and watch racing that are just a little too shy or not sure what they want to say.
How important is it to get more women involved in racing?
I wish there were more women in racing. That’s what I work hard on — to make it easier for girls down the road, so when they come in they don’t have all the pre-judgments.
What advice would you offer a young girl thinking about pursuing a career in racing?
They just need to go out there, go after it and ignore all the negativity. Put your head down, focus on what you’re doing and what you want to do in your career — and you can get there. There are no boundaries for women in racing if they’re willing to work hard and put all they have into it.