Guest blog by Thiemo Albers-Daly
Krista Skucas is a North American Rally Co-Driver who’s been a car and motorsport lover for as long as she can remember. Surrounded by classic cars growing up, Krista also came across the legendary Travis Pastrana one day and his Nitro Circus antics. The rest as they say, is history.
Since then, Krista has competed in numerous rallies all across North America, been on TV and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. I was lucky enough to chat with her recently about her time in motorsport so far, tracing back over the early years as well as the highs and lows of her career so far, her plans for the future and much more.
Reading her answers, I’m sure, like me, you’ll immediately be swept up by Krista’s passion for racing and rallying in particular. Co-Driving can sometimes be overlooked but not here and the sheer importance of that role shines through here. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.
What first got you into Motorsport?
I was always a fan of action sports. And I’ve always been a fan of cars. This is not something that ran in my family in a traditional sense but more of an economical sense of my parents habitually having old cars. In fact, my mom and dad had matching Dusters and my mom can spout off some interesting facts about the fuel tank capacity of some cars from the 1960s. Some of my earliest memories were sitting in my dad’s lap so I could reach the pedals on our home-built go-kart and ripping around some dirt trails.
It wasn’t until I started following Travis Pastrana and his shenanigans in the Nitro Circus movies that I discovered rally. Then while watching the local news on TV in 2007 I saw a commercial for the Oregon Trail Rally. I NEVER knew rally even came to my home town, let alone having 2 rallies within hours of me! I talked 3 of my best girlfriends into spectating with me and it’s all history from there.
What was it about Rallying and being a Co-Driver specifically that drew you to them rather than something else?
The endurance and difficulty of rally is what drew me in. And then the fact that rally is out in forests or in beautiful landscapes is what really has held my heart. I grew up camping and hiking in the Pacific Northwest of the US so being outside is where I am drawn. As for the duties of co-driving, it really aligns with my skill set of attention to detail, being organized, planning, being a “manager,” multi-tasking, and keeping calm under pressure. I also really like numbers, symbols, penmanship, and school supplies!
For those who aren’t as familiar, what does being a Co-Driver entail exactly? Others have described it as doing a bit of everything!
Being a co-driver can be described as being the manager before the event, at the event, and in the car. Also, caretaker of the driver so they can focus 100% of their energy and brain function on driving as fast as possible, mind-reader, magician, and cheat-code holder. Friend is also high up there- it’s a lot of time together!
You’ve raced all across North America, which was your best and worst race to date and why?
To get it out of the way, my worst event was Rally Colorado 2021. This is a taxing event on cars due to the elevation and the heat. Unfortunately, we overheated and blew the motor on the first stage. Best event was my overall win at Mike Nagle Rally just 2 weekends prior. This win was in a RWD car where we reached 124mph on the side of a cliff with a view of the Columbian River Gorge way off in the distance. Just absolutely stunning!
I would say though my favorite rally was Pacific Forest Rally in 2019 where I was codriving for my boyfriend and we had everything thrown at us. There was unexpected snow and ice, our wheel fell off and passed us on stage, we somehow managed to make it back out on stage and were not time-barred because the snow delayed the rally so much and then we encountered a herd of cows on stage. And to top it off it dumped about 8” of snow on the final stage and everyone had gravel tires on. After all that we somehow managed 8th overall and 5th in class!
Is there a fun racing related story that you can share?
In 2018 I was asked to codrive as part of a reality tv show for Aaron Kaufman called Shifting Gears. The premise of the show is their shop builds a vehicle for a particular motorsport event and then Aaron goes and races it. So we have a full tv crew following us around and I am NOT made for tv. Aaron slides off the stage and we bend the suspension. We are furiously trying to fix it on the side of the road and we are mic’d up the whole time and our audio is being recorded. In the editing of the show, they chose to use the most brash and sassy audio clips from me and the ‘Krista character’ they created certainly isn’t far off but I was surprised by what they chose to air. But also at this event, we finally make it to the finish and a huge crowd is waiting for us because the stage ends in a lumber sorting yard spectator area. It was awesome to be welcomed after such a challenging event!
Which has been your favourite car to compete in?
I don’t think I can answer this – ask me after Olympus and I ride in the Ferrari swapped Subaru sti!
If you could race at any rally in any car, which would you choose?
Today’s answer is: Monte Carlo in a 2017 WRC car. Tomorrow I would give you something else. It’s a long list!
What do you like to do to unwind away from motorsport?
Riding bikes is my second passion. Mountain bikes, gravel bikes, city cruising, etc. I also love to hike. So as you can see, it’s all just like being on a rally stage, just at slower speeds.
Tell us something random about yourself!
I’m such a foodie! I’m very food motivated and all fun things must have great snacks involved!
If you could go on holiday with anyone from history, who would you choose?
Oh man, this one is hard! I don’t know but I’ll choose a comedian who loves food touring because laughs and good food are always a good time.
Thanks again to Krists for taking the time to chat and best of luck for everything in 2023 and beyond!
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