We won’t see her at the red light on Valley Mills or anywhere else, revving the engine with a practiced eye. We won’t see her looking over at us, daring us to try to outrun her, knowing we never would or could.
It’s not that Lauryn is intimidated by other drivers. It’s just that her driver’s license won’t let her drive on public streets. Her license restricts her to the drag strip. Even then, she’s too young to compete against other drivers. After all, she only turned 5 years old four months ago.
Lauryn is the daughter of Ashley Kellough, the middle of five children in a family that is your typical Central Texas family. That is, if by “typical” you mean the mother is a seasoned professional drag racer and her eldest daughter aspires to be one, too.
Ask Lauryn what she wants to do, and she’s quick to let you know. She wants to win. She wants to go “100” and beat everyone. She wants that gold trophy that lets everyone know she’s the best.
Mom Ashley is no stranger to the sport. She was introduced to the sport by her father when she was 12 years old. Her dad was into dirt track racing. He took her to a drag race at Texas Motorplex and she said she fell in love. “A week later,” Ashley said, “we drove to Fort Collins, Colorado, and picked up my first junior dragster, and the rest is history. Here we are.”
For those who don’t know, a junior dragster is very similar to a regular dragster just on a smaller scale. The power and other attributes are determined in part by the age and size of the young racer, but each junior dragster will give the driver the ability to learn the ropes and become more skilled in the sport.
Ashley’s parents were very supportive. “My dad always told me he thought I was safer on the track than out on the street,” Ashley remembered. A lot of that was because of the safety equipment and requirements involved in the racing.
Ashley mentioned that drag racing isn’t just getting behind the wheel. She said Lauryn is always practicing at home. The practice is in the use of a simulator similar to a video game. They talk through scenarios and sit in the car and getting to know the car well.
Lauryn is working on getting her license to race, but she’s already allowed to take the track to run individual runs of an eighth of a mile. Next year, as a seasoned pro of six, she’ll be able to race against others. The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) allows children as young as five to get licensed through a process that ensures the young driver has a firm grasp on what goes into driving a dragster.
Lauryn isn’t limited to driving dragsters. She’s also designed her own firesuit and has a line of apparel. The apparel features a pink heart on the sleeve, because pink is her favorite color and the idea of the heart on the sleeve came from a Luke Combs song. Her belt has “4:13” on the buckle, a reference to her mother’s former racer number, but also Ashley’s favorite Bible verse, found in Philippians: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
Ashley has been around the sport for quite some time, not just behind the wheel but also behind the scenes. She’s worked with Tony and Cruz Pedregon and served for a time as the competition director and events coordinator at the Texas Motorplex.
Ashley believes her experience as a female driver will help Lauryn. Ashley said there was never really much resistance to her as a racer, and she wants to train Lauryn and other young drag racers about the overall picture of drag racing.
When asked if there was anything else Lauryn wanted to do besides drive fast and win trophies at the drag strip, she said she also wants to be a police officer and a cheerleader. She said she wants to be a police officer because “they catch the bad guys.” Something about Lauryn suggests that if she does go into law enforcement, any high-speed chase she’s involved in will be a short one and the bad guy will not get away.