The sisters were chosen out 7,000 nominated racers
TEMPLETON — Maddi and Macie Gordon are living their lives Right on Track, just like the 2003 Disney Channel movie, which follows American drag racer Erica Enders start in the hot rod racing world.
The sisters each began drag racing when they were eight years old—both inspired to get into the sport by their dad, world champion drag racer Doug Gordon. This year, Maddi and Macie were both named in Drag Illustrated’s 30 Under 30.
Since 2015, Drag Illustrated has compiled an annual 30 Under 30 list which highlights drag racing’s most accomplished and promising young ambassadors. Honorees are then recognized at a press conference during the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Thousands of submissions are sent in to the magazine. This year, the Gordon sisters were chosen out of 7,000 nominees.
Nate Van Wagnen, editor-in-chief for Drag Illustrated, says the 30 Under 30 list is “About more than showcasing what the sport’s young racers, tuners, manufacturers, track officials, and media personalities have already accomplished.”
He continues, “It’s also about shining a light on the future stars and encouraging them to keep forging ahead. Many of the honorees from the first couple lists have gone on to do extraordinary things like set records, win world championships, and move up classes.”
Getting nominated for the list wasn’t something Maddi and Macie were expecting. But after learning what the list was all about and the values the magazine’s editor held, they felt privileged to even be considered. The sisters share the list with some of the sport’s top up and coming racers. They were able to travel to Indianapolis on Dec. 9-11 to personally receive their nomination at the convention. Both of them note it as a highlight of their still new career.
Maddi and Macie each have their own cars and have been making their mark in the Division 7 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Junior Dragster League. Between the two of them, they have four championships.
Both attending Templeton High School, Macie (16) is a sophomore and won her age group in 2015, 2017, and 2019. Maddi (17), a junior, won in 2016 and nearly stood in the winner circle in 2018 and 2019, losing just by a few points due to car troubles.
In 2020 the sisters were able to go on the road with their dad, working as his pit crew. The two are able to take down and rebuild the engine.
“We’ve always wanted to do this but never realized it could happen. It’s such an opportunity to learn more and get more involved with it,” said Maddi. “It’s actually really exciting because we started Covid year working on Dad’s car, but if you see other crews, they are grown men. You don’t see teenage girls.”
Racing for the Gordons is a family affair. Doug is a six-time regional/divisional champion and won the 2020 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, making him a world champion. Doug’s car, the Top Alcohol Funny Car, was originally owned by his father. He started in the racing industry just like his daughters, helping work on the car and learning the mechanics. Then in 1993, Doug got his chance to race the funny car himself.
Maddi says their dad loves having them as part of the crew, “He obviously wants his family to be involved, but he never realized it would be like this. He loves it, though, and now our mom is starting to do more on the car too.”
The sisters racing careers have only just started. In a few years, Maddi will be handed the reigns to the Funny car—something she has dreamed of since she could remember. In fact, when Maddi was 11 years old, she wrote in a time capsule that she wanted to drive the Funny car one day. Top Alcohol Funny Cars are capable of performances in 5.3 seconds at more than 270 mph.
Macie looks forward to following her sister and moving up to Super Comp dragster in 2023. Super Comp is the quickest of the heads-up Super classes and cars in this class are capable of running racing times in the 8.90 index. These cars typically hit 165 to 175 mph.
Three generations of Gordons are hitting the racetracks together, none of them afraid of a bit of adrenaline. The sisters, their parents, and grandparents are all on the road together—each of them with their own part to play. Maddi and Macie describe it as a family hobby and one they are grateful for every day.