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Born: Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego
Raised in Downey.
Hobbies: Anything outdoors, swimming with the kids,
running with dog, Charlie, around Lake Laguna
Niguel, volunteering at the kids school,
date nights on Mondays with husband,
and planning the race schedule for next year.
Family: Husband, John Bonanni, a real estate
developer, two step kids, Derek, 17, and Jordyn,
14, and two kids of her own, Andrew, 10, and
Vroom, start your
Who said men are the only ones who can go off-road
racing or enjoy motor sports?
Meet Heather Mishell Bonanni of Laguna Niguel
who not only rides, but she races competitively -
and she is pretty darn good, too. Here is a closer
look at this daredevil.
Q: Do you have a full-time job?
A: I used to work full time managing the
Mortgage Loan Servicing Call Center at Downey
Savings and Loan in Newport Beach. My husband has
since afforded me the opportunity to be what I
always wanted a stay-at-home mom.
Q: How did you become interested in racing?
A: Watching my husband race. I have always
enjoyed motor sports, and off-road racing was right
up my alley.
Q: What is the fascination with it?
A: That you can drive over the most rugged,
dangerous terrain in Mexico for hours on hours,
push your body and mind farther than they have ever
been pushed, get dirtier than your 3-yearold
playing in a pile of wet sand and mud, cross the
finish line completely exhausted and still want to
do it all over again. Not only want to do it all
over again, but cannot wait to do it all over
Q: Have you ever been hurt?
A: Yes, at the Baja 500 last year. The race was
going through the infamous pine forest and this was
my section. This section had not been raced through
in years. I was feeling like I was in the groove,
got a little too comfortable and hit head-on into a
deep rut. I broke the left front trailing arm off
the body and limped it in to the next pit where the
BFG guys welded us back together and we sent the
next girl on her way. I ended up having a
concussion that made me pretty loopy for about four
days and a compressed disc.
Q: So, you compete, how often, where and when,
and against whom?
A: I will compete with the All-American Girl
Racing team for the 2007-2017 race years starting
with the Baja 1000 in November. Our race schedule
after that is being worked out, but if all goes
well, we will complete the entire SCORE
International season, which includes the San Felipe
250 in March and the Baja 500 in June, both in
Q: Any awards, prizes, trophies, ribbons?
A: Our very first race, we took first at
SNOREs Buffalo Bills 400. We also captured
the first place trophy at SCOREs Battle at
Primm in September. Both of those races were at
Stateline (Primm, Nev.). We completed the Baja 1000
in November and are currently, that I am aware of,
the only all-female team (both drivers and
navigators in the car at all times are female) to
ever complete the Baja 1000 when it runs from
Ensenada to La Paz.
Q: Will this or could this ever become a
full-time career for you?
A: Probably not ... we do this for the sheer
excitement and the money we get from sponsorships
is barely enough to pay for the car to race. We put
a lot of our own money into it so we can continue
to do this.
Q: What type of off-road vehicle do you ride?
A: We used to race a buggy type car. Some
compare it to a beefed-up sandrail. A
brand new car like ours last year would today run
about $100,000, at the least.
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©1996-2017 by Gordon