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Kaylee Diekman followed her family's footsteps in racing, and now she's racing side-by-side with her mother.

From a young age, the 25-year-old Diekman, of Blue Springs, watched her mother Ronda Mewes hit the race track on the weekends. She was hooked enough that she began her own racing career at 14. Diekman and Mewes race against each other in the sport compact division.

"It was just kind of 'Go for it,'" Mewes said. "I knew she would be OK (and) I knew she had a good head on her shoulders, and she wouldn't try and tear stuff up too much.

"When she first started, I told her to hold her line when she was a rookie. Just hold your line. As long as you can drive a straight line, you will get more respect from everybody. I told her you don't have to win. As long as we can put the car on the trailer every night I don't care. It's all about having fun."

For Diekman, the answer was simple.

"It's always been a part of the family, and I just wanted to keep the tradition going on," she said.

Since then, she has been a force to be reckoned with on the track.

Diekman, cousin of Royals pitcher and Wymore native Jake Diekman, became the first woman to win the points championship at Thunder Hill Speedway in Mayetta, Kansas, in 2012 -- the same track her mother became the first woman to win in the A feature. Mewes was the first woman to win the points championship at Beatrice Speedway, where Diekman also won in 2014.

Diekman won in Beatrice this season nearly a month ago, and she finished ninth in Friday's A feature at the Beatrice Speedway. The night she won, Diekman made a change from driving manual cars to an automatic. Ever since then, she's stuck with automatics.

"As long as the car goes on the trailer in one piece, that is all that matters to my mom," Diekman said. "But when a win comes out of it, it has even more of a meaning to it."

Though the mother-daughter pair has been dominate on the track, it's not always easy for the two to race against each other.

"I try not to focus where she is at and focus on what I am doing," Diekman said. "...But when a yellow flag comes out it's like 'OK, where is she at. Is she OK?'"

The same goes for Mewes.

"Two years ago, I barrel rolled six times in a corner and (Diekman) was behind me at the time and stopped right away," Mewes said. "That's one thing -- when there is an accident, you are always making sure it wasn't one of us, but you are going to make sure everyone is OK."

Racing side-by-side as a mother-daughter duo also has its own rewards.

"It's neat," Mewes said. "It's kind of a bonding time and it is something I have always done. I've never thought about 'We are women doing it,' even when I first started out. I thought I was just like anyone else out there."

Whatever track they decide to race, they always do it together.

"It's usually father (and) son," Diekman said. "It's different when you pull into a track. It's always me and my mom, too. We don't have a bunch of people that go. It's usually me and mom, my boyfriend and my brother when he decides to go."

Diekman would like to move to a different class in the future but will have another unique situation to embrace next season. Her brother, Brandon Carmichael, plans to join the racing family tree and will most likely join the compact class to become a family trio.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or tgray@journalstar.com.

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