Alexa Taylor, 16, takes 1,200 Horsepower and Shows the Competition Who's Boss

Article by Anthony Alaniz (Anthony_Alaniz). Images by Joel Chan (photoswithjoel).

Many of us like to believe that we were born breathing exhaust fumes and chugging motor oil (which we don’t recommend) from the time we were knee-high to a grasshopper, but that is the Nicholas Sparks version of the automotive lifestyle.

It sounds pretty, but is rarely truthful, unless you’re Alexa Taylor.

Alexa, who prefers to go by Alex, got her first taste of the combustion engine at just three-weeks-old, and soon began a long career as her father’s supervisor on the cars he was working on, handing him tools and learning all that she could about the trade. Her father, Dennis Taylor, owns and operates DT Hot Rods.

Her family got back into drag racing when she was nine, and ever since then she’s been hooked, so hooked that last year she was the first Youngest Racer to race Hot Rod Drag Week at just 16. 

In May 2008, Alex and her family became the proud owners of Denny Terzich’s black 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, which swept the competition in 2007 and won Drag Week. Alex always thought her first run would be in the passenger seat, but her mother gave her a car and handed her the keys. 

However, there were a few caveats, of course, as any good parents would stipulate. Alex had to help with everything that she could, and for the things she couldn’t help with, she had to watch and learn. Instead of building just a drag-ready monster, she turned it into her daily that also functions as a drag-race dominating beast. 

The building of the car wasn’t just about adding some new wheels and bolting on a few parts to the engine. The car was completely taken apart and rebuilt inside and out. An LS1 motor was installed, along with all the mechanical go-fast goodies you would expect in a modern drag car. 

When you look at her Camaro, you can tell it falls far from the standard deviation. The paint is a custom-mix version of Hugger Orange that she calls Retina Ripper Orange. While you will most likely hear the car before seeing it, the bright paint scheme will make it somewhat easier to pick out in a lineup.  

Now 17, Alexa consistently runs her 1,200-horsepower Camaro in the low 9s. She has quite the online following, some of her videos racking up millions of views. 

There is plenty to worry about at 17. School, homework, dating, friendships and the future, and adding in drag racing—an intense, time consuming, yet rewarding sport–can be seen as a quiet escape from all that.

Her parents are, of course, supportive and proud, as any would be. Granted, it helps when the whole family is in the business and you’re not the lone child taking didgeridoo lessons six cities over. 

Alex came in the top 10 on the Heads Up competition at 2014 Drag Week, and we can’t wait to see how well she does at the 2015 event.


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Anthony Alaniz (Anthony_Alaniz)

Born and raised in southeast Michigan. Chose to stay out of necessity. Staff writer at a small community newspaper covering city government, the schools and whatever else happens in town. J-school graduate from EMU, weekend mechanic, car enthusiast and open-road connoisseur. Open to all invites of hospitality and adult beverages.
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