Fast Girl: Peyton Januik remembers her first run to 200 – and she wants more

Peyton Januik likes to go fast, whether it’s in her SilverState Refrigeration-branded Super Comp dragster or in the Plan B Motorsports Top Dragster. The former Jr. drag racer has grown up in a world that revolves around competitions of speed and skill, and so hitting the 200-mph mark four years ago at Bandimere Speedway at a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series race just felt like part of the plan.

“Like most people, I wanted to hit 200, but I don’t think I made it a goal,” recalled Januik, a college student who hails from Las Vegas and currently resides in Utah. “I just knew that when it was meant to happen, it would happen. And it ~did~ happen in one of my first passes in the Top Dragster. At the time, my goal was more to not mess up than to hit 200.”

Januik hit an early roadblock that day at the West Central division’s event, thanks to Mother Nature.

“I remember being in the waterbox for the first pass of the weekend, and it started down-pouring rain,” she said. “I had to be pushed back and then sit under the tower for 45 minutes before I could run again. It was nerve-wracking – I just wanted to get the first pass over with.”

Januik’s first pass exceeding the 200 mark was a 6.831-second trip down the quarter-mile at a solid 208.81. By the end of the weekend, she was reaching speeds over 215 mph. The jump from Jr. dragsters to Super Comp and right into Top Dragster happened quickly, but Januik didn’t find the ever-increasing speed intimidating.

“I was 17 and still super new to big cars – I had only started racing big cars the year prior – so it was all happening so quickly. I was still getting comfortable in the car, and I think that made it easier to move quicker into faster cars,” she explained.

“Now, getting into the old Top Dragster that had a BAE motor in it scared the @#$% out of me,” she continued. “I got into that car like three months – if that – after hitting 6.99 for the first time. We knew it would run 6.0s to the quarter-mile, and I’d never been in any car that wasn’t aspirated.

“There was definitely a mental challenge with that one, but I ran it for the first time in Denver, so that definitely helped a lot. I knew based on the weather it was going to run slow and that the ‘chutes wouldn’t hit as hard. I’m super grateful that I was able to do the first passes in that car at a slow track and get used to everything.

“I have kind of a weird take on fear, though. I believe that if it scares me enough, then it’s something I should be doing. I let fear give me confidence to do the things I want to do. If I’m fearful about something, then I have to do it. Fear holds people back, but I refuse to let it control me.”

Januik welcomes the next big speed hurdle as she eyes her dad’s Top Alcohol Funny Car. Nick Januik is a veteran alcohol racer, tuner, and team owner. Januik recently represented the West Region in NHRA’s recent Allstars race in Indy, and he’s a national-event winner in the tough Top Alcohol Funny Car category.

“I’ve definitely been making hints towards my dad that he’s going to be out of a car soon,” the younger Januik said with a grin. “It’s been a dream of mine to run alcohol from the moment my dad licensed in his car. Watching my mom (Tiffany) run Top Alcohol Dragster for a couple seasons definitely solidified it.”

Januik recognized that her speed goals may not exactly align with her parents, but she is respectful and determined.

“The mental aspect is going to be way harder on my parents than it is on me,” she said. “My dad tells me now that he’s a nervous wreck thinking about me licensing in the car. But I have rules for myself before I run any new car. I make passes in it before it even hits the track. I run through a routine over and over again with the car sitting on the ground not even on. That helps with getting a solid routine down and with muscle memory so there’s no panic.

“I definitely think there is a more physical side to alcohol racing, though, and I’ll probably struggle with that in the beginning. But I’ve warmed up the car a couple of times, and as the time gets closer to licensing, I’ll become more and more consistent with that side of things and more comfortable with holding RPMs, the clutch, and the brakes at once.”

It’s more than just speed that Januik sees in her future, however.

“The next goal is to win a national event,” she said. “I’ve come close – I lost in the semis in Vegas last year – and I made it down to 19 in Indy. I’ve gone deep into rounds at various places the last couple of years, and it’s gotten so close. That’s driving me to analyze every move I make and really start fine-tuning my routine. I’m hungry for it.”

Peyton’s next race on the NHRA tour will be at the NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, where she will compete in Super Comp. Follow her on TikTok and Facebook: PeytonJanuikMotorsports and on Instagram: peyton_januik_motorsports.

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