Lindsey Adams has traded her cheerleading uniform for a race car as she mixes her love of speed with a cause that's close to her heart.
The desire to race is in her blood -- her father and her grandfather were also race car divers. "My earliest memory is actually at the motocross track, begging to race," Adams said.
She eventually got behind the wheel, and now wants to go all the way to the Indy 500. The 19-year-old is so serious about becoming a professional race car driver that she deferred a college scholarship to keep racing, despite her status as one of the few women in the sport.
"Being a female in racing, it's like the big pink elephant in the room," Adams said. "The guys definitely did not make it easy for me."
She said it was hard for guys to lose to someone driving a hot pink formula Mazda. "Because there's a girl that shows up to the track in a cheerleading uniform … she goes and puts on a racing suit and she kicks your butt," Adams added.
Driving for the Cure
Adams is now making her pink car work for her own purposes. The rosy colored hue happens to symbolize breast cancer awareness, a cause she is embraces because her mother survived the disease.
Her mother, Debbie Adams, initially postponed cancer treatment because she was pregnant with Lindsey, opting for a single mastectomy after her daughter was born.
"My mom had battled for her life," Adams said. "And she was there for my sister and me only because she willed herself to be there."
Then, when Adams was 17, her mother had two bad mammograms.
"She was just like, 'I'm exhausted. I'm tired. I don't want to worry anymore,'" Adams said. "So she made the decision to have a mastectomy."
Adams said it was then that she realized her mother's disease was not something that was "just going to go away."
"It was real to her this time," Debbie Adams said. "She said, 'Mom, someday I'm going to do a race for the cure.' I said, 'You better win that one!' But then I started thinking about how we win, and how surviving is a win."
Adams is dedicating tomorrow's Grand Bayou Road Race -- at the No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, La. -- to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and her career to finding the cure.
"Right now, we're sending out a mass mailing. I think it's like 500 letters, which doesn't seem a lot to a lot of people, but it's just me and my mom that's doing it, that's putting this all together," Adams said.
Together, mother and daughter have given a painful experience a purpose, and an exciting career deeper meaning.
"[I'm] given this opportunity to race, to be a champion, to be a role model, and I wanted to use that for something other than the vain pleasure of being famous," Adams said. "I wanted it to be something where … I could make a difference on a bigger level than just the motor sports circuit."