COMMUNITY: Racing with a goal

19-year-old Emily Gade of Clarence hopes to win sponsorship through contest

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Editor’s note: Megan Lehman is a student at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City and will be transferring to the University of Iowa in the fall where she plans on studying communications and journalism.

By Megan Lehman, community contributor

Stock car racing is no hobby for 19-year-old Emily Gade.

“It is a way of life and my passion,” she says in her video for the Search For the Champion Contest sponsored by Champion auto parts.

Since the age of 13, Gade has been taking the stock car racing world by storm. Six years, 13 feature wins and one championship later, Gade has proved she is here to stay.

A stock car race consists of a heat races of 8-10 laps and the feature race of 15 laps. What place the driver finishes determines the points the driver obtains. The top three finishers in the heat race win points, with first-place receiving three, second place two and third one. Top four finishers move on to the feature race. Drivers earn points from each race throughout the season.

To enter the Search For the Champion contest, drivers create a video stating who they are and why they should be the next sponsored Champion driver. Fifteen contestants will be awarded $5,000 and then compete for the grand prize of $50,000. They also will be officially sponsored by Champion.

Contestants with the top 15 videos will become finalists. A panel of judges will select the champion based on inspirational quality, relevance to theme or best depiction of a champion — and the amount of votes received.

Winning this contest would mean possibilities and opportunities Gade has been working for more than six years.

“The best feeling in the world is to go out there, race my heart out and prove to myself and everyone else that I can do anything I set my mind to,” said Gade, a former North Cedar High School student from Clarence.

Tires can cost anywhere from $100 to $200. Fuel can add up to around $70 a week. With other expenses such as travel, car maintenance and racing gear the lifestyle not only is fast-paced but expensive.

Being the next Champion sponsored driver would change all that.

Gade is attending the University of Northwestern Ohio, where she is studying to earn a degree in high performance motor sports. She intends to take her experience and college education to build and race late models in a series such as the World of Outlaws, where the best of the best compete.

Being the winner of the Search For the Champion contest would help get her there.

To see Gade’s video and vote for her, go to

Gade also has her own website,

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