Reilly and Peyton Lanphear are sisters who grew up in a typical racing family. Their father, Mark, has competed regularly at Thunder Road (VT) for many years and scored multiple race wins. Their uncle, Dwayne, made national headlines for his memorable kiss with a cow after winning the 2001 Milk Bowl. Now, the two sisters are looking to make headlines of their own with a new opportunity on the horizon.
With help from legendary television broadcaster Ken Squier and his Race to Read program, the two sisters will be competing in select American-Canadian Tour (ACT) events in 2017.
“Peyton and Reilly have grown up at Thunder Road watching their Uncle and Dad in competition where they have excelled over three decades,” Squier told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Their dad, Mark Lanphear, built cars for both of them and with his experience and knowledge of racing, he’s the ace in the hole everyone wishes they had. He’s very thorough and a good coach. Their mother, Stephanie, is a big motivator. The family has worked tirelessly on behalf of our non-profit, 501c3 Race to Read.”
“I am excited. I really just want to strive for something better, make my way up the racing ladder and really get my name out there,” 16-year old Peyton Lanphear said.
Fortunately for these girls, there’s no sisterly competition between the two; they’re in it together and share the same passion for racing. Despite racing together on the tight high-banked oval of Thunder Road, the two have been able to keep it clean (for the most part) on the race track.
“We have always tried to stay away from each other on the track because we don’t want to wreck each other, but there was a time when Peyton didn’t talk to me for like a week,” 17-year old Reilly Lanphear explained.
Thankfully, there also won’t be any sort of sisterly fighting over who gets to drive the race cars in their garage, as the Lanphear household has that well under control.
“We have five race cars, so thankfully there won’t be a conflict of who is going to drive when,” Peyton explained. “We are going to decide what tracks we want to go to and when we want to go to them. We don’t have a set schedule, we are just going to decide the tracks that are the best ones to learn and then go from there. “
This season, the Lanphear sisters will be found running their Street Stocks weekly at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont where they have raced during previous seasons and collected multiple wins.
Besides tackling the challenges of competing in a new class with select Late Model starts on the horizon, the sisters are willingly taking on a new set of challenges; these ones a little more on the sentimental side.
The Duxbury, Vermont raised girls race primarily at Thunder Road where they made the connection with Squier, the track’s President, and agreed to be development drivers in his “Race to Read” program.
“The Race to Read program is a very, we think, unique and important element of what we have been trying to do through Thunder Road in reaching children who often are reluctant readers,” Squier explained. “There is nothing reluctant in the reading these kids are doing thanks to Race to Read, the Lanphear girls, Peyton and Reilly and several others. They take their program, under the direction of Executive Director Hillarie Scott, into elementary schools where they talk racing and reading and the conversation seems to be magic with kids.”
“The Race to Read program is a program where we go to different schools around Vermont and talk to all the kids and tell them that if they read so many books that they will get to sign our race car,” Peyton stated. “We also explain to them that as race car drivers we have to know how to read to be able to build race cars and make them safe and stuff like that.”
The girls both mentioned how impactful it was to be able to take their cars to the schools and be a part of the children’s education. They also described how Squier thought the girls were the perfect people for the program because of their ability to relate to the kids.
And of course, their time in the program hasn’t come without a handful of memorable stories.
“One little boy got to sign my car because he met the reading goal and I remember him going ‘I am going to be famous!’ and it was so funny,” Reilly said with a laugh.
The girls haven’t stopped their charitable efforts there, as they have continued their outreach to a North Carolina-based foundation. They are also a part of Racing 2 Cure, an organization that is based on raising money for families in need who are battling cancer.
“Peyton is always online looking at random things and she found it (Racing to Cure) and told our mom we wanted to sign up and so we did,” Reilly stated.
“Part of your profit can go to your race team but as a team we decided to just give it all to them (Racing to Cure),” Peyton said. “It is a really special team to be a part of and that is something we are doing mainly with our Late Model stuff.”
Reilly, who is a junior, and Peyton, who is a sophomore in high school, both have busy schedules this season as they balance school, racing, sisterly competition and trying to make a difference in the community.
With a strong passion for racing, as well as their willingness to help out others in the community, Squier has little doubt that the Lanphear sisters will succeed.
“Their move to the Late Models some would feel is premature, but the sense around here is that with the name Lanphear and this love of racing they are getting a foothold on the support necessary and needed for any kind of future.”
-Story by: Hannah Newhouse, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Lanphear Motorsports