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Young drag racer wins big in first season on the track

Posted on November 12, 2013 by Maple Creek

She has only been drag racing for a few short months, but Kindi Opsal’s first season on the race track has already been one for the books.

The nine-year-old earned several honours for her performance in her junior dragster at the Medicine Hat Drag Racing Association’s race track near Redcliff, Alta.
Her accomplishments included best appearing and most sportsmanlike in the Junior Thunder Class, which were awards that were voted on by members and associate members at the track.
The young drag racer also achieved the highest honour every racer aims for, winning her first “Wally.” The trophy is awarded to winners of National Hot Rod Association national events. Opsal won hers at the National Open Junior Storm Class at the final held at Medicine Hat on July 27. The following day she raced in the final again and earned second place. This led her to win yet another Wally in the Canadian National Open Series for Division 6 in the Junior Storm Class for overall round wins for the weekend. For this she was also competing against other junior racers at National Opens in Mission, B.C., Prince George, B.C. and Lewistown, Montana.
Kindi was overjoyed after each win.
“I wanted to scream,” she said with a laugh.
Her parents Terry and Julie are both proud of her amazing achievement.
“It’s a huge thing,” Julie stated, noting Terry won his first Wally five years ago after 20 years of racing.
She added it’s difficult for first-year racers to even make it past the first round because there is so much for them to learn.
But Kindi comes from a family of avid drag racers and she picked up on the sport quickly.
“She had such a keen interest,” Julie explained.
Many others at the race track have commented to the family that Kindi is extremely focused during her races, Julie said.
Making the best appearing award all the more memorable was that Kindi’s father Terry also earned best appearing in the Super Pro Class. Both father and daughter had all new paint jobs and designs on their dragsters which other members were impressed by.
“It’s just so nice that both of them could win it the same year,” Julie said. “That’s pretty special.”
This is the second time Terry has been voted best appearing, earning the honour in the Pro Class in 2003 after Julie had his 1966 Chevy ll painted.
Of all the honours their daughter received, Terry and Julie are most proud of the sportsmanship award, which shows them Kindi is a good sport at the race track. They like to see her congratulating her competitors on a job well done, just as they taught her to do.
“It tells you as parents that you’ve obviously done something right,” Julie said. “Win or lose, you shake the other guy’s hand and you put a smile on your face and say, ‘Good luck in the next round.’”
Kindi is thankful for her sponsors Bales on Wheels, Southwest Bale Busters and A & B Hardware and Ag Supply Ltd. She also extends her thanks to Ray and Teresa Gaetz of Medicine Hat for all their help throughout the season.
Now the big question is what goals does a young drag racer set after winning two Wallys in the first year.
For Kindi, the answer is simple: just keep competing.
“You try to do good,” she laughed. “You set the bar a little higher.”

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