Taylor Reimer is a definition dual sport threat.
Before she even turns a lap next week at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, the 21-year-old will arrive at the River Spirit Expo Center as one of the most decorated athletes in pursuit of the prestigious Golden Driller trophy.
Despite having not raced with any real consistency over the past six years, Reimer remains the winningest female in the history of Port City Raceway in Oklahoma.
A second-generation racer, Reimer enjoyed that success in nearly every division she entered, winning championships at the Tulsa bullring in Micro Sprints. Prior to that, she was winning on pavement road courses in 50cc shifter karts.
Her dad, as parents often do, was quick to tout her natural ability.
“I took her to our local racetrack and she sat down with me at 7-years-old and they brought out the junior sprints, and I said, we were going to try it,” Curt Reimer recalls. “They were hot lapping and she turns to me and says, ‘They’re just going in circles, that’s easy.’
I said, laughing, ‘yeah, that’s it’ and we were off to the races.
There were times she actually made it look easy.
During her tenure, Reimer won notable events like the Spring Fling, Non-Wing Nationals, the Aron Lemmons Firecracker 40, Labor Day Special and the Pete Frazier Memorial. Amongst the drivers she regularly bested was expected Chili Bowl contender, 2020 preliminary night winner and reigning third-place finisher Canon McIntosh.
“I raced against her my first couple of years in Micro Sprints and she would just dominate,” McIntosh said. “She was probably 13 or so when I was racing against her, but she was really good.”
So, what happened, and where was Reimer over the past decade, while McIntosh emerged as one of the top prospects in the discipline?
Reimer was busy winning NCAA championships as a competitive cheerleader at the University of Oklahoma — all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA at the legendary institution.
“We were just a father-daughter racing deal,” the younger Reimer recalled. “It was more of a hobby. We did that for a couple of years, and I don’t want to say I got burned out, but it takes a lot to race at a winning level and it was just my dad preparing the car.
“He was my crew chief and my teacher.
“It just got hard on him as he got older, and racing wasn’t something I thought I could make a career out of as we started to look at schools.”
Reimer had already been cheering for several years, the sport she picked up from her mother, and was simultaneously competing while still attempting to race. There were countless schedule conflicts, especially with competitions taking place on weekends, which made it challenging to race on Saturdays at Port City.
She had to make a choice and she selected the one that came with a degree in health and exercise science with a business minor.
“I had been cheering for a while, so I didn’t necessarily choose cheer over racing,” Reimer said. “But I really focused on, you know, wanting to go to school and earn a degree. That was my main goal. I knew that if I went to OU, I would have the opportunity to cheer and compete, join a sorority.
“I really just thought it was in my best interest to pursue a degree.”
Reimer will graduate from Oklahoma this spring but intends to pursue racing at a high level after rekindling her passion for the sport over the summer.
When the pandemic shut the University down, and canceled numerous competitions and sporting events, Reimer’s schedule finally opened up for racing again. She returned to Port City with her dad and was immediately reminded of everything she enjoyed about the sport.
“We went to the track and she says, ‘this is good stuff,’ and I think that rekindled something,” her dad explained.
Reimer says she always intended to come back to racing after school, but the pandemic certainly accelerated those ambitions. She made a handful of starts back at Port City in a Micro Sprint, and reconnected with marquee Midget team owner Dave McIntosh, Cannon’s father.
They agreed to a handful of races, including the Chili Bowl, and have scheduled something close to a full-time schedule once she graduates.
Even after her time away from the sport, she is still one of the most disciplined athletes in the state and proved it when she made a couple of starts over the fall. She completed a Midget test with Dave Mac Motorsports on Jan. 5 and the elder McIntosh believes it could be a short learning curve once she gets re-acclimated.
“She’s really good in practice right now,” McIntosh said. “As far as being smooth and technical, she has all the tools and she fired back where she left off.
“She dominated in her younger years, but we didn’t know what she had after taking so much time off. But she’s doing all the right things and is taking it seriously.
“The biggest hurdle we have … is we can catch cars all day long, but if we can’t pass them, what are we really gaining? So, I think that’s the next big move. I think we’re going to see her in passing mode at the Chili Bowl, because she’s ready to go.”
The consistent theme with Reimer is that she’s an athlete. Cheerleaders are amongst the toughest and most discipline athletes in sports, and the rhythm and repeatability it requires lends itself to dirt racing.
“They’re completely different sports, but you’re right that you have to be in the best of shape for both of them, physically and mentally,” Reimer said. “It’s the same that it requires discipline and coaching, teachers, so there’s a similarity there for sure.
“They’re not similar but they do help each other out.”
At 21, and with Toyota Racing Development, expressing an interest in developing her talents, there’s an opportunity for Reimer to make a serious run at racing.
And it’s going to be a trial by fire starting next week at the Chili Bowl Nationals.
“I’ll be racing every week we don’t have a school function until I graduate,” Reimer said. “I’m going to be with Dave Mac Motorsports as much as I can until the summer. It’s going to be hard, but I’m going to get the seat time, and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”
And from an NCAA champion, a soon-to-be graduate with honors, with a race-winning resume — everything Taylor Reimer has is actually quite a lot.
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