Rebekah
"Beka"
Mercadel

LATEST

 In the opener at North Star Dragway, Beka advanced to the finals in the Quick-16 and runner-up to Heather Hambelton in a all girl final round! Beka also advanced to the quarter-finals in Modified.

Bio
Results
Schedule

Related Issue: Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women
Contact:
E-Mail | BekaRacing.com | 217-816-2247

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Bio

Beka Mercadel is the driver of the Mercadel Motorsports Top Alcohol Jr. Dragster. Beka’s hometown is New Orleans, LA, but (via Hurricane Katrina) now hails from Fort Worth, TX. This talented young lady is certainly making a name for herself around the country, but not in the way one would expect this 15 year old to perform. In 2004, Beka won the “Mahalia Jackson Music Award of Excellence,” but although she is a talented singer, Beka has chosen to perform on a different stage… the DRAGSTRIP! She is one of about 4,500 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) junior drag racers, and one of a very few licensed minority top alcohol junior drivers in the country. In just a few short years behind the wheel, this talented young lady has proven she’s got the right stuff though, successfully piloting a fifteen-foot long racecar that goes from ZERO to 85 in just SEVEN SECONDS!!!

Rebekah Mercadel, or Beka to her friends, is a New Orleans native who now hangs her hat in Texas thanks to Hurricane Katrina.


She is also a junior drag racer and pilots a Top Alcohol Jr. Dragster for Mercadel Motorsports. She is one of about 8,500 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) junior drag racers and one of a very few licensed minority top alcohol junior drivers in the country.

With her dad and crew chief -- Michael, mom, Kelly, and brother and sister, Gabrielle and Joshua – Beka has a solid base to explore her drag racing dreams. The family team has been lighting up the asphalt from Florida to Texas racing at 30-40 events a season.

While the tragedy of Katrina slowed her racing efforts as her family was forced to temporarily split up for nine months, sending her dad who is employed by American Airlines to Dallas/Fort Worth, while the rest of the family stayed in Springfield, Illinois with family.

“My wife and I were more worried about our children’s mental state than our home in New Orleans,” said Michael. “Gabrielle (12), and Joshua (9), seemed to have taken things a little better than Beka. Even though racing was not high on the priority list, we knew a few weeks after the hurricane that this is exactly what Beka needed. That cockpit was the only normal thing to her, and we had to get her back into her race car.”

For Beka nothing was more therapeutic than getting back in her race car.

“How many girls get to drive a race car from ZERO to 85 MPH in just seven seconds?,” said Beka. “Besides, there’s not a sport out there that you can’t get injured in (i.e. gymnastics, volleyball, softball, basketball etc.) It’s especially cool beating the boys!”

Katrina, in a way, has made Beka more active in her community and raised her awareness of what is going on outside of school and drag racing. Recently, the entire Mercadel racing team took part in the 2008 Walk Now for Autism event presented by Autism Speaks at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Part of the event was so that Beka could unveil her new paint scheme dedicated to autism awareness.

The paint scheme was done in honor of her little brother, Josh, who has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.

How did you first get into racing?

I first got into racing through my dad's love for the sport. When I was eight, I went to a pro race in Pomona, California and there I saw a jr. dragster. I asked the owner a few questions and I knew that jr. drag racing was a sport that I wanted to pursue. When I turned ten years old, I got my shot! In only my second event ever, I made it to the semi-finals. I was hooked after that. However, it did take me one crash and two-and-a-half years to win my first event. So in the first three years I won only three events. In the last three years (including the one year off because of Hurricane Katrina) I have won 18 events!

What and where are you racing this season?

I am racing a 2002 halfscale jr. dragster, mostly in Kennedale, Texas. I do travel but not lately. We are currently looking for marketing partners to help fund our racing season.

Do Hillary Will and Ashely Force's successes at the top level of the NHRA make you hopeful about your racing future?

Yes, Hillary Will and Ashley Force's successes make me hopeful about my racing future because both women have proven to the world that racing is just as much for women as men. Their accomplishments inspire me to break records when I reach the level of top fuel drag racing.

Is this what you want to do in the future?

Yes, I want to be the first minority top fuel female driver.

How hard was Hurricane Katrina on your family and your racing?

Hurricane Katrina was very hard for my family and I because that was where I lived my whole life and for a hurricane to move me to an area that I am not used to, things were very difficult for myself and my family. Racing, however, was not a problem because we brought my dragster with us when we evacuated and that was my only keepsake from New Orleans so I was very excited to get back into racing as fast as I could.

You've relocated from New Orleans, where are you living now? Are you able to travel to all the races you want to compete in?

I am living in Fort Worth, Texas. Generally, yes I am able to travel to all the races I want to compete in but lately with the rise of fuel prices it has been difficult for my team and I to travel.

Tell us about your Autism Awareness car and cause?

My Autism Awareness car was an idea I had because my younger brother has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. I decided to dedicate this season of racing to him and all the other autistic children in the world. My dad worked really hard on coming up with a paint scheme that would represent autism and hope to find a cure which would be universal to all the families out there that share this disorder. The puzzle pieces on the body is the symbol for autism and shows the process of the pieces blowing away which represents racing to find a cure one piece at a time.
Source: www.askpatty.com/page.php?Title=Rebekah_Mercadel_Heating_up_Junior_Dragsters/

Mercadel Motorsports Has High Hopes For 2007 Season After One Year Bout With Katrina! - 11/30/06


Rebekah Mercadel, born in New Orleans, Louisiana and now living in Fort Worth, Texas (via Hurricane Katrina) is the driver of the Mercadel Motorsports Top Alcohol Jr. Dragster. She is making a name for herself around the country, but not in the way one would expect this 14 year old to perform. In 2004 she won the “Mahalia Jackson Music Award of Excellence.” Although she is a talented singer, she has chosen to perform on a different stage… the DRAGSTRIP! She is one of about 8,500 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) junior drag racers and one of a very few licensed minority top alcohol junior drivers in the country. Her race car is about fifteen feet long and goes from ZERO to 85mph in just SEVEN SECONDS!

Mercadel Motorsports, consisting of driver-Beka, crew chief / dad- Michael, mom- Kelly, sister- Gabrielle and brother- Joshua, has been burning up the asphalt from Texas to Florida and all points in between for four years. A racing season for the Mercadel’s may consist of between thirty to forty events per year (i.e. racing and show appearances). Since Hurricane Katrina, they have only competed in twelve events. Despite the lack of racing this year, Beka still had some bright spots in 2006. She had one final round and four semi-final appearances.

Hurricane Katrina temporarily split up the family for nine months sending her dad who is employed by American Airlines to Dallas/Fort Worth, while the rest of the family stayed in Springfield, Illinois with family members. Michael reflecting on the days after the storm said, “My wife and I were more worried about our children’s mental state than our home in New Orleans. Gabrielle (12), and Joshua (9), seemed to have taken things a little better than Beka.” “Even though racing was not high on the priority list, we knew a few weeks after the hurricane that this is exactly what Beka needed. “That cockpit was the only normal thing to her, and we had to get her back into her race car,” said Kelly, Beka’s mom.

Two months after the hurricane, Beka finally got her chance and returned to the track. She competed at the Halloween Nationals just outside of St. Louis, MO. at Gateway International Raceway and won five rounds of racing on the first day and came just two rounds short of making it to the finals. Beka has tasted victory many times. Just two months before Katrina hit, Beka won the “King of the Coast Bracket Series” race in Gulfport, Mississippi. It came only six weeks after she suffered a top end crash that sent her rushing to the ‘ER’ in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and sidelined her for a month. “Most adults would have quit after less circumstances,” said Beka’s dad, Michael. He recalls Beka asking him on the way to the hospital, “How bad is the car?” Gaylon Rolisen and Tommy Castanedo, founders of bracketnews.com and the “King of the Coast Bracket Series”, surprised Beka with a special Sportsmanship Award for not only being brave to race again after her crash, but to race and win their event.

Despite criticism from some family and friends about the dangers of the sport, Beka is undaunted. She sums it up the best; “How many girls get to drive a race car from ZERO to 85 MPH in just seven seconds? Besides, there’s not a sport out there that you can’t get injured in (i.e. gymnastics, volleyball, softball, basketball etc.) It’s especially cool beating the boys!” Beka has been learning more than just driving a race car, she has also been active in her community working on her people skills. Beka often displays her race car at local school fairs and car shows. She also speaks with her dad at area clubs and schools about career goals, peer pressures, and the pitfalls of drugs and alcohol abuse. When asked, is this what you want to do when you grow up? Beka replies, “I really like drag racing however, my hope is to become a Pediatrician!” Mercadel Motorsports looks forward to a full Season of racing and sponsorship appearances in 2007.
Source: www.blackdragracers.com/Mercadel_Motorsports_vol3_iss3.html

Results

"My trip to New Orleans was a blast! I was so nervous but excited at the same time as we got closer to my highly missed home track at No Problem Raceway in Bell Rose, Louisiana. When we got there the track looked just as i remembered and all my old friends welcomed my family and I with open arms. After spending time with everyone it was time to get serious for the big race. The heat did not help though, everyone could not believe how hot it was. On Friday, I made it to the semi- finals due to my face shield fogging up so bad to the point where i could not see the christmas tree. Though disappointed, I knew I had to prepare for the next race day. On Saturday my car was very consistent and I went to the quarter finals because of a breakout pass of (7.895 seconds on a 7.90 seconds dial). Though I did not do as well as I wanted, I made plenty of great memories and had a lot of fun with my family and friends."- Beka

TWO future STARS clashed in an East Coast vs Gulf Coast Match Race!


It was their first meeting, at the 34th Annual Snap on Tools Night of Thrills on May 30th @ Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, located in Englishtown, NJ.

Amanda Smith a.k.a. Skittles representing the East Coast, matched race against Beka Mercadel a.k.a. “The Queen of the Gulf Coast", from New Orleans / Dallas-Fort Worth, TX.

This past weekend May 30, 2009, Beka and her team flew up to the 34th Annual Snap-On Tools Night of Trills in Englishtown, N.J. for a match race. She was going to pilot her first 330 outlaw car!

"It was so cool, Snap-On Tools/ Amandasraceteam.com picked us up Friday night in a stretched limo from the airport to the hotel, and sent another limo from the hotel to the race track and all the way to her pit area at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Saturday afternoon! They also had broken in to our hotel room before we got there and left behind all kinds of cool stuff! (i.e Backpacks, coolers, candy, fruit , wine- (for my parents) ... Lots more too!"-Beka

They also made 2,500 hero autograph cards and a booth for Beka to sign autographs for the fans!

We did have a few challenges with the 330 car that was built for Beka. So the two teams decided to change the match race into an exhibition race. They borrowed a friends 7.90 car to race against an outlaw 330 car.

Knowing this wasn't a fair heads up race, the two teams still impressed the crowd by making it a good race anyway, and then throwing t-shirts and give-a-ways into the stands.

Also to make things fair to each driver, the first pass in the 330 outlaw car was run by Beka and her crew. The second pass was run by Amanda and her crew.

Leaving this match with one win a piece the two teams will look forward to meeting again.

Over all Beka preformed very well. In the black car she ran a 4.372 (330') and in the white car she ran a 4.715 (330')!

Amanda ran a 4.564 in the Black car and a 4.841 in the white car.

The weekend was bigger than winning or losing a race. It was a great opportunely for Beka and Amanda to meet a lot of great people and to visit with some fans!

Another Semi-Final appearance for Team Mercadel!"Beka- Highlight of the day!" 4/4/09


Beka seeking her first event win of 2009, faced off against Heather Hambelton in the second round of racing. Heather is 3-0 against Beka this season and looking to continue her streak. Beka on the other is looking to end her losing streak, and finally get around Heather and her Hurricane Racing Team.

Both cars dialed-in a 7.91. This will be a heads up drag race! Teams shake heads, engines come alive and both cars complete there burn-outs and stage. The lights come down and both cars launch off the starting line almost dead even! Heather with the slight advantage .050 to Beka's .052 reaction time. Side by side theses two battle it out all the way down the track! Beka pulling along side of heather by the 330' mark both cars clocked a (5.049 @ the 330') by the end it was ......

Beka running DEAD on with a ZERO (7.910) to take the win and end the losing streak to Heather and her Hurricane Racing Team! Heather ran a very good (7.918)! Both girl's in great show of sportsmanship shack hands and hug at the top end of the drag strip!

"I can't recall a closer and better race in a long time, we were side by side the whole race!"- Beka

The second round victory was short lived when Beka and her team lost in the semi's, running another dead on the dial run (7.909 on a 7.90), but got bit on the tree .026 to Beka's .090....

"Going rounds is what we need to do. Looks like the car is back on track and I know Beka will beat her self up all week because of the hole shot loss. I think she will be on the practice tree a little more than she has been this week. Beka will be fine!"- Michael

Beka makes it to the Semi-Finals! 3/29/09


NorthStar Dragway in Denton, Texas hosted the 2009 JDRL Challenge. Racing was suspended on Saturday 3/28/09 due to weather. On Sunday morning teams in RV's, trucks and trailers lined up at the gate for their shot at their title hopes.

"There was a good car count considering the weather and a shortened racing weekend. Getting beat up last weekend was tough, so we hoped to go a few rounds today if not the winners circle!" -Michael

Team Mercadel winning the JDRL Quick-16 in 2007 and the JDRL Top Eliminator Class in 2008, made it to the semi-finals March 29, 2009. Beka used some good driving skills and a little luck to come just one round short of the finals.

"It felt good going rounds today. The competition is tough, but we wouldn't be doing this if it was easy!"- Beka

Beka hopes that things are coming together has her dad and crew chief is getting a better handle on all of the off season changes to her race car.

Texas Raceway not kind to Team Mercadel 3/21/2009


Frustrated with her performance, Beka beats herself up over a .114 light, in a first round loss at TXR.

"I'll give it to you straight... We got our BUTTS KICKED yesterday at our home track opener! We chased our tune-up all day! Beka had a awful day on the tree and I looked like a rookie tuner out there! A double first round loss is very uncharacteristic of our LAT Racing Oil, Digatron sponsored Top Jr Dragster racing team!" -Michael

Double First Round means = Entered into two separate events on race day and lost both race events in the first ROUND.

"We really beat ourselves, we got disqualified in every race for going to FAST! We went to darn fast and got beat and the boot! Not taking anything away from the two teams that beat us! They were on their game, and did what they had to do to beat us! From the starting line (The tree) to the big end (the finish line) we got handled! Hats off to them both!" -Beka

After the race day was over and before leaving the track, Team Mercadel went though the car and made a few weight and other adjustments that should get them back into the game!

2009 Season Opener Update!


In the opener at North Star Dragway, Beka advanced to the finals in the Quick-16 and runner-up to Heather Hambelton in a all girl final round! Beka also advanced to the quarter-finals in Modified.

Team Mercadel *WINS* their sixth event of 2008!


On August 23, 2008- Beka and her team got back into the winners circle by winning the "Quick-16" race at the Texas Raceway in Kennedale, Texas. Team Mercadel captured their sixth win on the year by defeating Taryn Greene in the all girl final!

Schedule

 

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