Unbuckled: Getting to Know Emily Packard
Driver of the #9ME Northstar Fireworks Ford Fusion
Hometown: East Montpelier, VT
2015 Season: Finished 4th in ACT Late Model Tour points
What are your favorite off-season hobbies?
During the off season I don’t really do much but try to relax and spend time with my family.
What do you do for work/school?
In June I graduated from U-32 High School. To complete my senior year of high school I took an early college program where I went to college full time and received the credits I needed to graduate high school and I completed my freshman year of college. Since graduating, I’ve started working for my parents full-time along with night classes at college.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?
I would say, in addition to all of the great racing accomplishments I’ve had, I moved into my own house two weeks ago. In July I bought it and I have been doing most of the renovations with just the help of some family and friends. I am proud of all the hard work put in to make it beautiful.
What are your racing plans for 2016? Do you have any goals?
We are still finalizing our plans for 2016, with a couple different options. Once they have been decided we will make sure to let everyone know. Whatever way we decide to go, it will be a really big change for me this season.
What race(s) are you most looking forward to in 2016?
Depending on what we decide to do, I can’t wait to return back to Oxford. We’ve had some really good runs there and I really enjoy racing there. I also can’t wait for the races at Thompson, Waterford, & Seekonk.
What was the highlight of the 2015 season for you?
One of my favorite races of the season was the first Oxford race. We had gone over for the practice day the Friday before the race. They then cancelled the race for Saturday so we decided we were going to go home and then go back Saturday night. Saturday morning, my grandmother passed away, as my family and I surrounded her. When we returned to the race track, everyone thought I wouldn’t be able to perform at my normal capacity. Also, it was my first time there, so it was an unknown as to how we would run. We had a great race, coming from 20th to 4th, and pressuring 3rd place at the end. Even with the unfortunate event and my heart broken, I was able pull through and have a great race for my gram.
How did you get started in racing?
My dad worked on Brian Hoar’s team for most of my childhood. He also owned cars for other drivers. Also, my cousin Jamon was racing at Thunder Road in the go-karts and I went up and saw a couple of races and then I decided it was my turn to give it a shot. From there I started racing go-karts at Rocky Ridge and the rest is history.
Do you have anyone that you consider a hero or try to emulate?
I have a lot of people that I look up to and hope someday that I can have as good of a name as them. These people have also had a huge part in my racing career and are the nicest people ever. People like Nick Sweet and Brian Hoar are the people that have had an impact on me.
Tell me about your family?
I have the best family in the world. They are extremely supportive and are always there to lend a helping hand. I am a 3rd-generation driver on both sides of my family, so racing just runs in my blood. When I’m not racing myself, I always love going to the track to watch my cousins Jaden and Jamon race, or my boyfriend Shawn.
Who is your biggest supporter at the track?
I have a lot of people that support me on and off the track. My Dad and Mom are probably the biggest. My Mom and Dad are always there at every race and always make sure they keep me positive.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?
My Dad and Mom have been major contributors to my racing career. They have always pushed me to follow my dreams and always reach for more. They make sure I keep a level head, but also always make sure to remind me, when I’m feeling down, that I am good and can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
When I was a kid I used to be really into dance and theatre.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To be yourself. Never let anyone tell you who you are or what you are going to be!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I hope to continue to be happy and doing what I love.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
First of all, I would take my entire family on a nice vacation, because they are all so great and they deserve a break. I would do a couple upgrades in my life. Then I would just keep living life and working, while not having the stress or worry of not having money.