Loras College to host 19-year-old racing sensation McKenna Haase

Photo 2 - McKenna and Makaila Haase
McKenna (left) and sister Makaila Haase use their sibling rivalry to push one another to succeed. McKenna became the first woman to win a sprint car feature at the Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway at the age of 18. Makaila is a senior at Loras College and pitches for its softball team.

Loras College, 1450 Alta Vista St., Dubuque, will host 19-year-old racing sensation McKenna Haase at 7 p.m. Monday, May 16 in Ballrooms A and B in the Loras Alumni Campus Center (ACC). She will speak as part of the Loras College Sport Management Senior Speakers Series. The event is free and open to the public.

In 2015, Haase, originally from Des Moines, became the first woman to win a sprint car feature at the Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway at the age of 18. In only her second year of racing, she and her pink and silver #55 car took the checkered flag during and made history at the 115-year-old track.

“It’s really cool to hear how I’ve inspired other people,” she said. “When you start racing you get adopted into the biggest and best family in the world.”

That same weekend Haase graduated from Carlisle High School as a valedictorian. She was also named to an all-conference team in golf earlier that week.

Now a freshman at Drake University, Des Moines, Haase has been called a trailblazer and has received national attention from the sports world, including ESPN.

“She has a lot of success in business and racing ahead of her,” said Matthew Garrett, professor of sports management at Loras. “We’re incredibly excited to have McKenna here. She’s a great example of tenacity and dedication at such a young age. She’s the whole package.”

Haase’s interest in racing started in third grade when she joined her grandparents in Tulsa, Oklahoma to watch her cousin race junior sprint car.

“I was able help in the pits that night and I instantly fell in love,” she said.

Shortly after, she saw her first NASCAR race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton and in 2010, at the age of 13, Haase started racing her own car at the English Creek Speedway just outside of Knoxville.

“They geared me all up, put me in the car, pushed me out on the track, and I just pushed the pedal all the way down and imitated what the other drivers would do,” Haase said.

A big part of Haase’s popularity is her commitment to give back. She partnered with Big Al Kids and Motorpsorts Foundation in 2015 to help make a difference in the lives of deserving children by making hospital visits, participating in the foundation’s fundraisers during the famed Knoxville Nationals, and continually raising money for the foundation.

“My mission has always been to work in unison with my partners, fans and teams to create not only a winning race team, but a team focused on honesty, excellence, and integrity both on and off the racetrack,” Haase said.

Her long-term goal is to be a World of Outlaws Sprint Car driver.

Haase’s sister, Makaila, 22, is a senior at Loras College, majoring in media studies. She also recently just finished her four-year career as pitcher for the Loras College Softball Team and never missed a game. She’s McKenna’s biggest fan although she acknowledges a sibling rivalry.

“She pushes me to want to be better,” Makaila said. “I’ll tell anyone on this planet how proud I am of my little sister.”

Makaila often uses her filmmaking skills to spotlight her sister and her racing career, including the mini-documentary Pretty in Pink, Covered in Dirt.”

And though McKenna competes in male dominated sport, the Disney character Tinker Bell is always found prominently on her car.

“I’ve always said that the dirt that we race on has to have a little bit of magic in it and a little bit of pixie dust to make it so special,” she said.

Visit www.loras.edu, call 563.588.7100 or (800) 245-6727, like Loras College on Facebook or follow @lorascollege for more information.

About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. According to the 2016 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, Loras College was named the 13th Best Regional College: Midwest. Visit www.loras.edu for more information.

Online resources

Racing career highlights and accomplishments

2015: 305 Sprint Cars-Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, Iowa)

  • Two feature wins
  • Two quick times
  • Three podiums
  • Three top fives
  • Four top 10s 

2014: 305 Sprint Cars-Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, Iowa)

  • Highest finishing female in Knoxville Raceway history (second place)
  • Three heat wins
  • Five top 10s in first seven feature finishes

2013: A-Class/Open/Outlaw Micro Sprints (nine tracks)

  • 14 top 10s (of 16 races)
  • First place Tulsa Shootout heat race

2012: Restrictor/Open Micro Sprints (five tracks)

  • Highest finishing female in Knoxville Raceway history (second place)
  • Two feature wins
  • 16 top tens (of 20 races)
  • Second place Warren County Speedway Nationals

2011: Box Stock Outlaw Kart-English Creek Speedway (Knoxville, Iowa)

  • Third place at Got Milk? Nationals (Hartville, Missouri)
  • Third place at the Outlaw Dirt Kart Nationals (Knoxville, Iowa)
  • Fifteen wins and 22 second place finishes combined heat & feature finishes
  • Second place in the English Creek Speedway points championship

2010: Box Stock Outlaw Kart-English Creek Speedway (Knoxville, Iowa)

  • All top three points race A-Main finishes
  • A-Main top five/B-Main win at Got Milk? Nationals (Hartville, Missouri)
  • Seventh place at the Outlaw Dirt Kart Nationals (Knoxville, Iowa)


McKenna Hasse