STHS graduate making a name in NASCAR racing |

STHS graduate making a name in NASCAR racing

Elyse Brightman
South Tahoe's Liz Snyder, bottom right, changes the rear tires on the #70 Nationwide car. Snyder graduated from South Tahoe High School in 2007 before moving to North Carolina to train as a NASCAR pit crew.
Submitted to the Tribune |

In the sport of NASCAR, women are few and far between, but one South Tahoe High School graduate has worked her way in.

Liz Snyder, formerly Prestella, grew up watching racing with her dad and enjoyed working on cars. She graduated from STHS in 2007 and spent most of her senior year in the automotive shop. After graduation, Snyder moved to Mooresville, N.C. to attend the NASCAR Technical Institute and the Xcalibur Pit School.

Today, the 25-year-old Snyder changes the rear tires for the #70 Nationwide car and #66 Sprint Cup car and is the only female pit crew employed full-time in all of NASCAR. She’s worked for drivers such as Blake Koch, Jay Robinson and Derek Cope among others.

She attends every Nationwide and Cup series race, meaning she travels 30-40 weeks a year.

“I don’t really have a favorite (track) yet,” Snyder said.

She went on to say Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del., is a fun track to see because it also has a horse racing course on the infield.

“Vegas is always an interesting track. Daytona and Talladega, those are always a very different world than any other race,” Snyder said of the two famous speedways. “Many people are overwhelmed when they go to those tracks.”

The closest she comes back to Tahoe will be Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Snyder is in her second year of going over the wall at races to change the rear tires and it takes her 15 seconds to complete the job.

“It’s a different experience because we’re paid for what we can do in only 15 seconds,” Snyder said.

Snyder says she’s still new and hopes to cut her time down to 10-12 seconds to catch up with the veteran crewmembers.

Snyder practices two times per week with two to four stops changing four tires to work on speed and accuracy.

Snyder hasn’t dabbled much in racing herself, though says she’s raced go-karts before with some of the drivers.

When asked if she wants to pursue more racing, Snyder said, “I’ll stick to working on (cars) and let them drive.”

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