Currently, Angelle Sampey is a recognized figure in drag racing and the media, though her journey to this status was not immediate.
Initiating her career in motorcycle drag racing in 1996, Sampey's primary goal was to earn equal treatment and respect in the sport. She aimed to be acknowledged not just as a female racer, but as a formidable and respected competitor.
In the early stages of her career, Sampey often found herself perceived primarily as a woman in the field, with her competitors more concerned about the stigma of losing to a female than recognizing her skill.
Over two decades later, the landscape has shifted significantly. Sampey now boasts an impressive record of 42 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle victories and three championships. Her gender is no longer a focal point; she is regarded as a formidable opponent to all, irrespective of gender.
Embracing her role as a mother has also reshaped Sampey's perspective on being a role model. With two daughters who look up to her, she now appreciates the significance of this role, a stark contrast to her earlier reluctance to embrace it.
“I have two little girls looking up to me now, which is why the whole female role model thing has changed in my mind,” Sampey remarked. “I never wanted that role before, but I understand how important it is now that I’m a mother of two daughters.”
Sampey's recent career transition involves racing a Harley Davidson for NHRA's Pro Stock Motorcycle division, a move initiated by her former competitor and now team member, Andrew Hines. This represents a new challenge for Sampey, as the Harley Davidson bike differs greatly from her previous fully-faired racing motorcycles.
“This bike is so much different than anything I’ve ridden before; it’s not even close. It’s mostly due to the wind. This bike doesn’t have a fairing so you feel the wind. People used to ask me, ‘What’s it like to go almost 200-mph on a bike?’ and I’d tell them that I barely feel it because on the bikes I’ve ridden, you can’t feel it. On the Harley, you can feel it. It feels like you’re going 300-mph. To be honest, I was a little intimidated by it at first and that’s not something I’d say often. I know it’s just a matter of getting acclimated but there is definitely an adjustment.”
Nevertheless, Sampey has adapted well, as evidenced by her impressive run of 6.79 seconds in a test in Orlando, Florida, closely trailing Hines.
Today, Sampey has embraced her identity as a role model and champion, confidently competing and winning against the best in the sport.