FORT WORTH, Texas — McKenna Haase started her own racing team at age 13, and at one point she went door to door selling batteries when trying to raise money to buy her first sprint car.

Now 27, Haase will be able to hire a crew chief and expand her racing schedule with help from that same battery company.

Haase was at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday to announce a sponsorship deal with Dallas-based Interstate Batteries. She plans to run about 40 races this year between the World of Outlaws and High Limit Racing series.

“When I didn't have a crew chief, I put in 99 hours one week of physical labor just to be able to race. The longest shop day I put in was 23 1/2 hours," Haase said of the yearslong grind to keep racing.

She said one year she contacted more than 300 companies about sponsorships.

“I think the biggest thing is just racing within your means and racing within the opportunities that God’s given you,” she said. "I've only raced about 25 races a year, but that was within my means.”

Haase was in third grade when she met NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne in a shopping mall, and she had a cousin who raced junior sprints. That led to her starting her own team and racing karts for the first time in 2010. Two years later, she was going door to door selling batteries, and two years after that she became the first female driver to win a sprint car feature, which happened at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa.

While a finance major at Drake University, she was president of the Drake Investment Club. She also appeared on the NBC game show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Her first sprint race of this season will be next weekend at the Knoxville track.

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