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Tiina Duncanson: The Queen of Quick

The woman and family behind That Girl Racing take snowmobile drag racing to a whole new level
RELATED TOPICS: SNOWMOBILE RACING | SHOOTOUT
Tiina Duncanson That Girl Racing snowmobile drag
“That Girl Racing” is blasted across the immaculate, airbrushed deep pink hood on Tiina Duncanson’s Pro stock 1000 asphalt drag sled.

The first time I met Tiina, I saw the slogan on her sled and leathers and made the mistake of asking if it was a sponsors’ advertising slogan for a women’s clothing line. Boy was I wrong! Since then, I have been lucky to get to know the members of That Girl Racing, especially at AmSnow’s Annual Super Sled Shootout in Martin, Mich. Here, and at many other races, you can see Tiina’s driving skills in racing action, and the professionalism of her team is top-notch. Over the years, Tiina has taken home three big winner’s checks at Martin: two in All-Motor and one in Pro Stock. She also has a great winning record on the grass drag and ice drag circuits that goes all the way back to 1997. That’s when she first got into the crazy world of straightline racing. She presently sits on top as the most accomplished female straightline snowmobile racer in the world.
Tiina Duncanson That Girl Racing snowmobile drag family
Tiina Duncanson is one of fastest and most recognizable racers on a sled these days, but her entire family, including daughter Kiersten, husband Peter and son-in-law Jeremy Hannen, are all incredible racers and wrenchers. “That Girl” is both a family and a team!
What does ‘That Girl’ mean?
So where did the team name come from? Back in 1995, Tiina accompanied her husband, Peter, to Marilla, N.Y., where they checked out the vintage sled show. Peter was heavy into restoring vintage sleds, but it was the grass drag racing that caught Tiina’s interest. She thought the action looked like a lot of fun and eventually convinced Peter to let her give it a try. Peter thought she might not do so well and give up on the idea fairly quickly, so he kept her identity as low-key as possible. Instead, her aggressive winning made people ask: “Who’s that girl?” The nickname stuck with her.

Tiina and Peter call Acton, Ontario, their home base. Canada is where Tiina’s early racing started with COSDRA, on a Ski-Doo 700 Mach 1 in the Amateur Stock class. Her driving got attention, and it was not long before she was offered driver positions for larger sleds. When Mike Crook asked her to drive a 1000 Open Mod at Kalkaska, she broke the record her first time out and won the class. This led to a number of other offers, and she landed with the Dave Dunnigan team in 2000. Success in the 1000 Pro Stock class eventually led to the decision to build her own sled, and the first was based on Ski-Doo’s 809 Triple with a lot of help from Iantomassi Motorsports. By 2002, she switched to Paul McCloud built engines with a tube chassis from Phil Stanley of Portland, Maine. Tiina capped off her grass racing career with wins in Open Mod 800, Heavy Mod 800 and Pro Stock 800 at Hay Days in 2004.

In 2005, Tiina switched her summer to run almost exclusively on the asphalt drag circuit. Since then, she’s racked up wins at the AmSnow Super Sled Shootout at US 131 Motorsports Park and plenty of other venues. Her Pro Stock sled runs a McCloud full billet triple engine, which puts out “around” 280 horsepower. This translates to an 8.1-second, 160-mph quarter-mile performance at the official class weight (650 lbs.).
Tiina Duncanson That Girl Racing snowmobile drag
Tiina is not the only racer in the family, though. Her daughter, Kiersten, was also very active in drag racing and successful for several years. Unfortunately, Kiersten had an accident at the 2010 “Battle of the Bay,” where she hit a snowbank and tangled up sleds with fellow racer Todd Serra. Todd was fine, but Kiersten broke both an ankle and a hand. This took a few operations to heal, and eventually she had to have several bones in her ankle fused. This did not put a total end to the family involvement though, as her husband Jeremy Hannen builds and wrenches a race sled for King Pin Racing out of Saskatchewan, and this is now Tiina’s ride on the winter ice drags.

Tiina’s goal for her current winter program is to win at the ISR World Series in Oconto Falls, Wis. She has high praise for the Sno Jokers Club, as the organization always does a great job of making sure the track is prepped to perfection. In three appearances at this race, she has always made finals, but so far has had to settle for runner-up positions.

Asphalt racing keeps Tiina busy in the summer, as she runs the NHRA Eastern Circuit. The NHRA program has a special class for Pro Stock 1000 that features all-out side-by-side heads-up racing. They offer five races on the circuit, plus a chance to run at Nationals in Epping, N.H., which Tiina has won the last two years in a row. Then it’s on to the big race and show at Martin in September.

Tiina is a sponsor’s dream because she insists on giving credit to everyone that has contributed to her winning performances. Her infectious enthusiasm has helped to advance interest for the sport, and fans of all ages are drawn to her, from young kids to old drag racing gurus.

History of women in sled racing
There is a long tradition of great female drag racers in NHRA. Women like Shirley Muldowny in Top Fuel, Erica Enders in Pro Stock, the Force sisters (Ashley, Courtney and Brittany) in Funny Cars, and Pro Stock motorcycle racer Angelle Sampey. There are also plenty of winning women in snowmobile drag racing Open Mod classes, including Robin Soat’s high point title in the 1980s, Ellen Staniforth’s 650 win at Minocqua, and Debbie Schmidt’s high point title in Okoboji.

It’s fun to see women lining up alongside the guys and not being intimidated off the line. They often have faster reaction times! Only the best can top off a good start though, and you need aggressive controlled riding all the way across the finish line. Tiina commands the sled flawlessly. According to Tiina, she is not planning to retire any time soon, so we look forward to seeing her winning ways for many more seasons, both on the asphalt and on the ice.
Tiina Duncanson That Girl Racing snowmobile drag daughter Kiersten
Tiina Duncanson That Girl Racing snowmobile drag AmSnow Shootout
Tiina Duncanson That Girl Racing snowmobile drag husband Peter
CAREER TIMELINE
1997 –
Ran Stock with a 1997 Ski-Doo Mach 1 in COSDRA circuit. Also ran 600 and 700 Open Mod.
1998 – Built own 440 Open Mod, had great success in the COSDRA series. Finished 2nd at Hay Days in 500 Open Mod.
1999 – Built a 1000 Pro Stock Ski-Doo. Was the No. 1 qualifier at the Top Gun Shootout.
2000 – Built an 800 Pro Stock Ski-Doo. Daughter Kiersten started driving a 440 Stock sled. Traveled to bigger races in the U.S. and Canada.
2001 – Started running 1000 Open mod at the “Big” races. Set new record (5.07 seconds) at Messine, Quebec. Daughter Kiersten won the 500 Open Mod at Hay Days.
2002 – Started running Mike Crook’s 1000 Open Mod (Kalkaska, Mich.). Ran the first sub-5-second pass ever. Kiersten started driving 800 Pro Stock. Had a great season winning races at many major events.
2003-2005 – Tiina and her daughter, Kiersten, raced at every major grass and ice event, including Hay Days, Hastings, Fenwick, ISR World Series, etc. For two years, Kiersten drove with Blair Morgan Racing on the Sno X circuit.
2005 – Won the 1000 Open Mod in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Was given the key to the city by the Mayor of Bathurst.
2006-2008 – Ran 1000 Pro Stock on the ¼-mile NHRA and IHRA tracks.
2009 – Won All-Motor at the AmSnow Super Sled Shootout with a time of 8.07 seconds.
2010 – Won first ever Wally given to a snowmobile in Atco, N.J. Won NHRA Pro Stock Championship. Broke NHRA Pro Stock ET and MPH records. Won All-Motor at the AmSnow Super Sled Shootout.
2011 – Won the NHRA Pro Stock Championship and the NSDRA / NHRA High Point Championship.
2012 – Won the Pro Stock Championship at the AmSnow Super Sled Shootout.
2013 – Daughter Kiersten married Jeremy Hannen of Hannen Racing, and Jeremy became an integral part of That Girl Racing’s success.
2010-2016 – Won 17 NHRA Wallys and two National NHRA events. Held the ET record three times.
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