Life moves fast for Kortney Kosiski— often at speeds of more than 100 miles an hour. She’s part of the Kosiski family racing dynasty in NASCAR, and she’s a civil engineering student at UNL. She spends her summers at Nebraska Raceway Park, the racetrack her family coowns in Greenwood, but says her priorities put school ahead of racing.
"I’ve wanted to be an engineer as long as I can remember, Kosiski said. Her appreciation for physics and math frequently helps her in racing with banked curves, weight ratios and more.
"I built my car from scratch, and everything on my car is done by me, said Kosiski. "I do all the work myself, and I love working on my car. She said she especially enjoys working on the shock absorbers and suspension system, but added that aspects of body work can be tedious.
Kosiski’s skills were tested on July 13, 2008 when she crashed in a race at her home track. She said her car "launched 30 feet up into the air … did some twists but landed on its wheels. Kosiski was not hurt but spent the next three months rebuilding her car (while racing a substitute vehicle).
She’s had some great successes, too, including the time she beat MTV Nitro Circus star Travis Pastrana in a race; she also appeared in Season 7 of his series. In her NASCAR driving, she has won three races so far. She called those "the best times and added, "I like to make my dad and crew proud. That crew includes Kortney’s father, 1998 NASCAR champion Ed Kosiski, and her grandfather, who was a 1960 Daytona driver (he’s now her mechanic, as he was for her dad and uncle). Kortney’s cousins race now, and so does her younger sister, Michaela.
Auto racing, like many engineering courses, is mostly male-dominated but Kosiski explained that’s not a big deal to her.
"You put a helmet on and you’re just a driver, Kosiski said, focusing instead on how she can continue to improve in her racing and her studies. "Hopefully I’ll keep going and win a bunch of races. It’s awesome that I’ll have the degree to go with it.