Contact: eMail | www.Thunderhillraceway.com
Some women say racing is their LOVE; others
say racing is their LIFE.
For Track Chics Woman behind the Wheels, Mary
Ann Naumann, racing is both her LOVE and her
The daughter of Jake and Frankie Wallace, who
both raced and promoted stock car racing at the
Longhorn Speedway in Texas (formerly Austins
Speed-O-Rama), Mary Ann grew up trackside first
competing on her bicycle with other kids and
eventually behind the wheel of a race car. Those
early days and nights at the racetrack helped shape
the foundation of Mary Anns family and
friendships. While most kids were going to high
school football games, Mary Ann was waiting for
Friday night to go to the races!
After years of watching races as part of the
family, Mary Ann had the opportunity to join the
marketing and promotions business of motorsports.
Crowned Miss Texas Race of Champions,
Mary Ann worked closely with legendary Texas Race
Promoter, Neil Upchurch, who had a profound impact
on her life and career choices.
Today she is the proud owner of Thunderhill
Raceway, an ASA sanctioned track in Kyle, Texas,
(near Austin), and the Texas Super Racing Series
(TSRS). The Series tours throughout the state of
Texas in both Late Model and Allison Legacys.
Affectionately referred to as My Baby,
the TSRS is a return to the family-style racing
Mary Ann enjoyed back in the 80s.
In addition to a promoter, organizer and
racetrack owner, Mary Ann is also a wife and
mother. Her husband, H.E. Naumann, son, Heath
Stewart, and Brad (Bubba) Naumann, her
husbands son, are all seasoned race car
drivers who always finish high in their respective
Mary Anns time spent behind the wheel had
a tremendous influence and fueled her desire as a
promoter. Having the benefit of actual driving
experience has helped Mary Ann to understand and
respect what the drivers are feeling before, during
and after a race. That personal connection, and her
incredible staff and officials, attribute to the
success of Thunderhill Raceway and the TSRS series.
Its those female touches, like perfectly
manicured grounds, antibacterial soaps in spotless
bathrooms, plentiful supply of cool towels and cold
water bottles on standby for the drivers and their
crews that immediately indicate that a woman is in
In addition to sprucing up the grounds,
Thunderhill Raceway now also has a drive-through
tech shed, driver's lounge, a separate media center
and VIP suite area. Renowned for its
one-groove challenge, the track hosts
NASCAR Camping World Series West, ASA A-Line Super
Stocks, Thunder Stocks, Grand Stocks, Texas Pro
Modifieds, Texas Pro Trucks, Texas Super Racing
Series, Texas Pro Sedans, Texas Dwarfs, Lone Star
Legends and Bandoleros, Allison Legacys, and
Mary Ann confesses that she had never actually
intended to own a race track, but has been involved
with Thunderhill on and off since its early years
in 1999. She eventually became a partner and then
acquired her partners interest in 2007 to
become sole owner of the facility and ensure that
Her Baby, the Texas Super Racing
Series, would always have a home. Both the track
and the series carry Mary Anns signature of
family, fun and competitive spirit.
Track Chic talks with Mary Ann to learn how this
one woman can Do It All
IT ALL so well!
You have a rich heritage in motorsports. As the
daughter of racing parents who were also race
promoters, you done have everything from serving as
Trophy Queen to competing behind the wheel of a
race car yourself. Your motorsports career
includes Marketing, PR, Race Promotions, Track
Management and now owning an ASA-member racetrack,
Thunderhill Raceway, and also the Texas Super
Racing Series! Of all your accomplishments, what
brings you the most satisfaction?
I would have told you a couple of years ago, the
TSRS Late Model Series; I call it "My Baby".
Although with the economy and the cost of trying to
keep a racetrack alive, my series has suffered. I
just love the camaraderie that goes with having a
series and it has bled over into the ownership of
the race track.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a
I really didn't start off wanting to own a race
track; I loved traveling with the touring series,
TSRS. Thunderhill Raceway was going to close its
doors and I kind of stepped in because, without
race tracks, we can't have a series! So, it is
financially difficult to keep the doors open,
operating expenses are so high. Marketing has
always been my missing link and it still is!
What advances have you seen during your career
for other women in motorsports?
When I first got into racing, there were not
many women racing with the men; but it is much more
common these days. The same is true for owning a
series and a race track. It is still not as common,
but it is no longer a show stopper. Women really
are a missing link in motorsports; but it's being
filled more and more as time goes on.
In your opinion, who is the most talented driver
Oh my, that is a tough one! Even though my TSRS
Late Model car counts are down, like most Late
Model Series, I have some of the finest drivers and
most awesome folks around. I love drivers who race
for the fun of it';they are very passionate about
the competition. I love seeing the young ones come
into the series and do well. I feel they do as well
as they do because we have great Officials, great
leadership from them. They also benefit from the
quality drivers that they compete with and help
show them the way. Again the camaraderie comes into
The series has had several 14 year olds run for
a couple of years and have since moved on to the
Pro or Super Late Models, and they now compete
around the state. It makes me proud that they
started with TSRS! Right now there are two young
guns that we have that are doing well. Austin Self
has major carting experience from a very young age.
JT Sheilds, oh my, quite a kid! His dad ran the
series for several years and has a couple of
championships and all of a sudden his job had him
traveling overseas. His dad put his son, JT, in a
Late Model and he is doing great!
Like I said, this is a very hard question; there
are some veterans that are setting great examples
for these young guns. Too many to mention but two
stand out: Robert Barker and Bobby Teer, Jr. Those
two are battling for this years championship
and it is going to be close!
You bring a unique perspective to the sport. You
are the daughter of racing parents, a race car
driver yourself and now the mother of successful
race car drivers. Which scenario is hardest to
I think I would have to say being the daughter
of racers. When my dad raced, it was so scary for a
long time. Then one night he got injured and was
taken to the hospital. I was young and hysterical
and everyone was trying to get me in there to see
that he was OK.
I remember leaving that night or morning, and
walking with him when he said "don't ever be
worried about me in a race car: if I were to die in
a race car you would know I was at my happiest".
From then on, I was OK with it.
Now, I would have to say the hardest emotionally
for me is not only feeling that nervous feeling
when my husband and son are racing, but also as a
track owner, ensuring that everyone from the fans
to the racers have a wonderful family experience
and get home safely to their loved ones.
Can you share more details about the Kids Club
you started with your Dad, NGR - Next
Generation Racers Club?
We wanted to have a kids club that would help
kids stay involved with racing during the off
season and not get involved with drugs. Our motto
was "Racing against Drugs". We wanted the kids to
meet the drivers up close, one on one; to go to
their race car shops and see what it takes to get
those race cars on the race track! We also got
them involved with the operation of the race track,
selling programs, greeting the fans, and helping in
the flagstand. We felt these were our next
generation of racers and many have proven to be
exactly that! Many are now racing for me and have
their own children at the track and racing in our
bike races, just like they did when they were
When not trackside handling the many demands of
track owner, race promoter and series owner, what
do you do to relax?
I love my family, but when I have finished an
event, I just want to go relax, have a massage, and
maybe a pedicure! I love people and I like to see
them happy, so I tend to extend myself a little too
much, sometimes. I like a little time by myself and
then I am good to go!
What is my idea of a perfect day? Spending it
with my incredible, loving husband, even if that is
just doing nothing, he is my missing link! We
love to take our RV and hit the race tracks and
visit families and we love to go to casino's, we
love the atmosphere, relaxing at the hotels and
just being together.
My husband is a successful retired businessman.
For 26 years he was in the trucking business, he
owned one of the largest trucking companies in
Austin. He sold the business about 6 years ago and
loves being retired. We have a ranch, Ranch Oasis.
It is 89 acres that he has built since his
retirement and he takes wonderful care of it and he
also helps me with the 38 acres that Thunderhill
Raceway sets on, so really he is not retired!
Now, I can't leave out what an incredible staff
I have and I would be nothing without them! I have
one, if not the best, techman around
Sandefur, fair, fair man! So ethical, I am so
very proud to have Jack. Deb Williams, oh my, she
is my right hand ... attention to detail does not
touch it! Kathy Tiemann, Director of Scoring, oh
my goodness, she is the best of the best. I have
two incredible announcers, so good, so funny, and
so entertaining. And a flagman that I adore!
My husband is the Director of Spotters with the
TSRS Late Models and Allison Legacys that we
manage. He actually handles all spotters for the
classes that travel to THR. He just makes it all
happen in that area.
I have terrific on-track officials, two are
women. Kim McKim has been with TSRS from the
beginning, as have many of my staff. And also Loree
Mathieson; these ladies work hard and have the best
interest of everyone involved
and they have
Too many great folks to list them all! I only
have the best; they love their racers and fans!
Everyone works so hard, in the garage and pit area,
Brad Bush and Stacy O'Brien, yep another lady!
Then, we have Mama Dean, she is Jack's better half,
she has been with the series from the beginning!
Everyone loves her! She will hand those drivers
cold towels and bottle water every chance she gets!
Wish I could mention them all, from my ticket
windows to my security!
You have enjoyed the success and tremendous
satisfaction of following your dreams. What advice
can you give other women eager to pursue their
It is not original but it is true, do what you
would do for free, if you could! Go after it, make
it fun; when it's not fun any longer, move on to
something else that is!
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©1996-2017 by Gordon