Meet the Mom Who Races the Barbie Miata

MacKenzi Payne-Crowe spends her weekdays practicing the law.  On many weekends she and her entire family can be found at SCCA Solo competitions with the Southern Indiana Region.  We asked MacKenzi to tell us how her family time revolves around Solo and why she races a pink Miata.

I attended Kentucky Wesleyan College where I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in criminal justice with minors in sociology and political science with an emphasis in pre-law.  Afterward, I went to Thomas M. Cooley Law School (now known as Western Michigan University Cooley Law School) where I earned my Juris Doctorate degree and have become a licensed attorney in Indiana.  With my career choice, I am not sure whether I would have discovered autocross if not for a date with my husband, Jonathan Crowe.

Autocross racing thus far has been an amazing experience and I know it will only get better as my children, Josie and John Luke, get old enough to experience the rush as much as my husband and I do. It is funny to look back and see how my adventure started.

On one of our first dates, Jonathan took me to an autocross event at Lawrenceville, Illinois with the Southern Indiana Region (SIR). I am confident this was to impress me by his ability to go fast and still maintain control of his car!  While I had no idea what autocross was at the time, he mentioned it and I love trying new things which are out of my comfort zone.

When we arrived early Sunday morning to the track, he asked if I wanted to ride in his yellow Mustang; I jumped at the opportunity; plus, I also wanted to impress him.  Once I rode the first time, I knew I was hooked.  Jonathan put on a show and I was impressed with not only him, but the sport.  I also liked the idea of dating a race car driver.

While I just started in the sport riding, I now drive.  I have been driving with the SIR and have no plans of stopping.  However, it took me over three years to actually drive.  I was so nervous and had a lot of insecurities about driving in an autocross.

As a woman, I didn’t know if I would be made fun of for going too slow, not spotting the cones fast enough, and so on.  My region is truly awesome though, because they only encouraged me and never made me feel uncomfortable.  They think it is great for women to drive and wish we had more who did so.

Though we enjoyed the yellow Mustang, we switched to a 1995 white Corvette.  Jonathan made a deal with me that I could put pink on the Corvette if I would agree to drive an event.  Deal made!!!!  I added hot pink racing stripes, seat covers, and a steering wheel cover.  Once the car was ready, I was ready.  It was a completely different experience than I had expected.  It was amazing, and I was a driving a Barbie Corvette, every little girl’s dream car.

After the completion of the season, I had the racing fever and wanted my own car to drive.  I started looking on Craigslist for Mazda Miatas, and my dream car was seriously on there for sale.  It was a Barbie pink Mazda Miata with Louis Vuitton interior.  Anyone who knows me, knows I am obsessed with pink!   Mazda Miatas are one of the best known autocross cars out there and to be pink was icing on the cake.  I didn’t want anything big and bulky that I couldn’t control, so I knew the Miata was perfect for me.  I immediately called Jonathan to look at the post and a few days later she was mine.  She is of course named “Barbie.”  When we got Barbie home, Jonathan stripped the Corvette back to just white; go figure.  I have driven Barbie for the past two seasons and can’t image driving anything else.  She handles wonderfully, and she is such a conversation piece.  Her horn even plays, “Here comes the Queen.”

When I attended the 2016 SCCA Solo Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the first time, many people stopped to take pictures and ask questions.  Barbie is a great car to draw women to the sport of autocrossing because of her appearance and smooth performance.

Our Region struggles to get women interested in the sport; so an advisory committee was established to brainstorm and create activities to strike the interest of women and embrace them.  I was honored to chair this committee.

I believe in my heart that racing has brought my family closer together, as we all have the fever, including the children.  Barbie is and will always be my car of choice.