First Lady of Foothills Racing - myfoxcarolinas.com

First Lady of Foothills Racing

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    I am a Digital Journalist based in Hickory. I cover Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell and Watauga counties. I was born in Weaverville, NC. My high school dream was to be a White House correspondent, then college happened and I got involved with the radio station at Western Carolina University.
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HIDDENITE, NC - Since the age of two, Annabeth Barnes has been at the track. At first she would accompany the family to watch her dad and sister race, but once she got into the driver's seat, she stayed there.

Barnes found success on and off the track. She won more than 200 races and two Grand National Championships during her World Karting Association career. At age 11, she starred in Racing Dreams, a Dewayne "The Rock" Johnson executive produced documentary tracking three WKA racers through a season.

“We got a call from New York, saying hey we want to feature you in this documentary," said Barnes. "We said, “Yes!” And, a few weeks later we started filming.”

By 2011, she had transitioned to stock cars, and the Great American Country channel called. The entire Barnes family was featured in the mini-series "Born to Drive."

Barnes says all of the attention and success has not changed her.

“I’m just really set in who I am, and I know who I am,” she said. “I’m lucky that I have had the experiences that I have had, because they have kind of molded me but at the same time they have helped me stay more true to who I am.”

This season, she returns to drive for her family-owned team. Barnes calls the 2014 season the “Back to Basics” tour.

“It’s about getting back to me. Getting back to, away from, the expectations, away from things being less about racing…and it is racing. Getting back to the nitty-gritty of driving and really focusing on that again.”

With regained focus, she looks forward to being known as a great driver.

“I think time makes a person great. Dale Earnhardt died when he was 50 something. I think he was great. He’d been racing his whole life. Maybe when I’m 50 something, I’ll be great. Someday. Maybe after I win Daytona.”

While she has a defined goal, one NASCAR great, fellow Alexander County native Harry Gant, is showing his support.

“Whenever her class runs, I watch her. Because of the go carts, I mean I have heard her name mentioned forever around here when she was winning them go kart races, and then she started racing at Hickory,” he said.

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