By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Unlike many 15-year-olds, Hope Lusher doesn’t spend her Friday nights running around with her friends.
Where you’ll find her is running around a race track.
Lusher, a rising sophomore at Oak Hill High School, drives the white, No. 10, Outlaw Streets car each week at Beckley Motorsports Park.
“I love it,” she said. “I raced motorcycles for about three years, and I thought I’d try cars.”
Not a bad decision for Lusher, who is currently in second place in the Outlaw Streets points standings.
While she hasn’t won any races, she’s had four Top 5 finishes, including a third place June 21.
“I haven’t led a lap. I don’t have the power to get out there,” Lusher said. “But I’ve been here (11 of 12 weeks) and I’ve been consistent. I’ve finished most of the races.”
Her crew chief and biggest fan, dad Delbert Lusher, said she runs a clean race.
“She’s second in points because she stays out of trouble,” he said. “I told her to take your time and run your race. Don’t try to run someone else’s race.”
Last year, Hope drove in the Hornets class and was 10th in the final standings.
“This car has more power and it’s not a front-wheel drive,” Hope Lusher said. “Hornets don’t slide (around curves) like these do.”
In April, she moved up to Outlaw Streets and has accumulated 398 points. Robert Walker of Charleston leads with 490, while Rodney Cole of Amma is third with 352.
Lusher has been in a couple of wrecks, and has slid into the fence a couple of times. She’s kept her calm, however. And so has her dad.
“There’s always worry. I’ve never raced cars myself, but I thought if I put my girl in one, it would keep her out of trouble,” Delbert said with a laugh.
Currently, the Lushers don’t have a sponsor for the car.
“I’m going to try to find some next year,” Delbert said. “But this is a beginning year for Hope in this class.
“She’s won bicycle races and motorcycle races in Beckley. Now all she has to do is win in a car race.”
Hope is confident that will happen.
“It’s been going really good for my first year in Outlaws,” she said. “Next year, I’m hoping to get an asphalt car and run it on Saturdays.
“To run in NASCAR is what I’m wanting.”
That’s a pretty big goal for the Robson teenager. But she’s young and is learning, one race at a time.
“I want to get somewhere in racing,” she said.
— E-mail: dstillwell