It’s no secret that hard work and determination are second to none. Summer Richardson (AKA Mrs. Swoop) has made a name for herself with that same hard work and determination. Summer started her racing career on the water with performance boats in 1-mile shootout events at Lake Havasu and Lake of the Ozarks. After setting multiple records for the fastest solo female powerboat driver on water — Summer moved to drag racing, facing a whole new learning curve on dry land. GFG recently sat down with the superstar to learn more about her need for extreme speeds and why this fearless, ambitious woman is still chasing records.
What made you transition from boat racing to drag racing?
I made the transition four years ago to race on asphalt after being a five time fastest solo female powerboat driver in a shoot-out event and realized that pushing 200 mph in a boat was not very safe and if I wanted to continue topping speeds and staying competitive in racing I needed to be in a more controlled and safer environment.
Back in 2016, you hit a top speed of 185 mph in a powerboat, where do you get your need for speed?
I grew up in a family that was heavy in engine building and drag boat racing. My dad raced drag boats for several years through the 80s and 90s and then got into Powerboats. I grew up watching him at the drag boat races and when I was old enough, I began driving the boat myself. I drove my first twin engine 30’ foot HTM when I was 14 years old and always had a love to be in the driver seat learning how to drive. I wanted to know how to tow the boat, launch the boat l, drive the boat; everything I need to know by myself just like the boys did. It was in my early 20s when I began racing twin engine powerboats for the shootout events in Lake Havasu city, Arizona and at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. We are also a family that has been a part of all kinds of motorsports from Sand rails to dirt bikes to boating to hot rods.
From Instagram influencer to model to drag racer, how do you balance it all?
It’s a full throttle lifestyle! I try to balance by being home with my barn and enjoying my downtime with my horses (my therapy lol) but even then, I’m still working full time running my social media marketing company, influencer jobs and the racing and sponsors. It’s a lot but I’m very blessed to have the beautiful opportunities in my life and to have a family and husband that supports me.
What’s it like behind-the-scenes with the Swoops?
Lol, high octane! We never stop moving! We are quite entertaining especially as a husband-and-wife team, we do everything together!
What’s your favorite track or city to travel to for racing?
I love Sonoma Raceway track! It’s beautiful and who doesn’t love wine country!?!
How do you prepare mentally for a race week?
I try to stay fit during off time from the track, watch videos of past races to study components and myself and the car. Prep the cars before loading. This can be checking the valves, oil change, spark plug change, checking the chassis, making sure the electronics are working correctly and of course getting the cars detailed and show ready for the next race. There’s so much more that goes into it with fuel deliveries, replacing parts in the trailer and getting the toter and race trailer ready for travel.
Do you have any advice to young females looking to get into drag racing?
My advice would be to go to a local track, watch a junior race and connect with other young racers. See if you can help in a pit and understand everything that goes into racing other than just driving. Then set your goals to get your junior license and remember, to have fun!
What’s your favorite GFG racing apparel?
The sweaters! I love the zip up hoodies and the pull over hoodies! So comfortable to wear and soft! I wear mine all the time!
What’s a quote you live by and believe in?
“Make the Impossible, Possible!“ is the quote I live by. There is no limit to what you can achieve even if it sounds insane to some, remember they are not YOU! You can do anything! Be limitless, you are the creator of your life. I’ve done things in racing and look back and think I am crazy, but by trusting myself that I can and will do it is what pushed me to my achievements. Here I am now, from being 5x fastest solo female powerboat driver to starting from scratch 4 years ago in drag racing with no experience (I was terrified to do a burnout back then and now it’s my favorite part of the process) and now my goal is to be at the top in NHRA and drive professionally in Top fuel! What really fuels me is to drive for a bigger purpose on a world stage one day. To Power a Purpose through my passion for racing. I believe I will. Also this quote from Walt Disney I really like “All our dreams can come true if we have the COURAGE to pursue them.“