Women in Motorsports: Felicia Smith - Engine Builder Magazine

Women in Motorsports: Felicia Smith

Felicia Smith was never a huge gear head. However, following her first taste of speed at the track, she's been living a life of cars and racing ever since. She's taken the past six years to build up her CTS-V and her own car/engine skills in an effort to share it all with the car community.

Say what you want about today’s abundance of “social media influencers,” but there are certainly a select few in our industry who are not only worthy of the influencer title, but who also do what they preach. It’s not just lip service or faked videos and photos to appease their adoring fans. No, these true influencers in our industry are doers.

One who we’ve gotten to know much better recently is Felicia Smith. She goes by @4DRRCKT across her various channels, and she’s not a life-long car person like many of you, but she’s always wanted to go racing, and once she got a taste of it, she hasn’t stopped fueling the fire in an effort to keep going faster.

Felicia is originally from Kaufman, TX, which is just south of Dallas, and has since lived in five different states. She currently calls Oklahoma City, OK her home.

“I didn’t grow up in racing,” Felicia Smith says. “None of my family races and none of us own a shop. My family does like cars though. We’ve always kind of been the ones who see a nice car drive by and we’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, I’d love to have that.’ But it ends there.”

Her infamous orange CTS-V started red.

That may be the case for most of Felicia’s family, but she’s a different breed. She went to college in Tulsa, OK and visited the racetrack there a number of times, which got her hooked on racing.

“I absolutely loved it,” she says. “I met my now husband while I was in college, and he was into cars as well. It just took off from there. We started going to our local track here in 2014 and actually racing. He had a bike and I had a G35 and that’s where it all kind of started.

“I started learning everything – the classes, the lights, how payouts work – just the general racing stuff, because I didn’t grow up with anybody to tell me that. I learned trial by fire and we just went with it. Now we’re here.”

By “here,” Felicia means she’s turned into an absolute addict. The real impetus for her addiction has been her Cadillac CTS-V named ‘Rocket’ and the reason for her handle, 4DRRCKT.

“I raced a G35 for a couple years and I decided that I wanted something faster,” Smith says. “I wanted something that you felt in your chest. I wanted that whole feeling of a racecar, but the kicker was it also had to be my daily because at the time that’s what the G35 was.

“I had sat in a CTS-V in an Oklahoma auto show in 2012 and I fell in love with it. I was only 19 then and having a CTS-V was just unrealistic. In 2016, when I got that urge and I got that feeling again, a V was what I wanted.”

Felicia found a completely stock, black, manual CTS-V at a dealership in Oklahoma City. She was convinced that was the car for her. She sold her G35, but low and behold, when she returned to pick up the Cadillac the next day, it was gone.

“I was devastated, but if you don’t put down a down payment, they don’t hold it for you,” she says. “Somebody had bought it that morning. I hope that they’re loving it as much as I would’ve. But, there I was carless, without any way to go back and forth to work. I became a little bit desperate.”

A coworker had shown Felicia a red, automatic CTS-V, which she says was everything she didn’t want, but due to her situation, she made plans to check out the car.

“I met the owner of the car about an hour and a half south at a casino,” she says. “I walked out and I heard it – it was cammed. I heard it just lobing like almost to the point to where it was dying. I was like, ‘I don’t care if it’s red, I’m taking it home!’ I was absolutely in love. Of course, we drove it. It made 618 wheel horsepower at that time. That’s where it all started in 2016. I’ve had her since.”

The car didn’t stay red for very long. Felicia chose a bright orange paint scheme, and it’s become her staple color. The CTS-V also underwent a number of engine upgrades to fit Felicia’s racing goals out on the track.

“I think orange is different, but yet fitting as an American muscle car color,” she says. “I was excited to be able to put it on a Cadillac and pull it off. When I first bought the car it made 618 hp thanks to a few bolt-on modifications. It was a complete stock bottom end, which was great because it actually let me learn from square one.

“I owned the car for about six months and we ran into a huge issue to where we were adding more boost and adding more pulley, and it was not making more power. About six months into owning the car, we actually pulled the engine, which was a learning experience. Luckily, my husband Aaron is very mechanically inclined, so we pulled it and we had two cracked ring lands. Frankenstein Engine Dynamics built the very first bottom end that was in the car. I ran that setup for almost two years.

“My current setup now is built by Thompson Motorsports out of Neveda, TX. It is a Dart 427 with DSS pistons, Manley rods, King bearings, a Callies crank, and a Cam Motion custom camshaft, all mated to the 1.9L supercharger. We ended up running 8s with it. We were one of five in the world to do that on the blower only. We made great power with that blower. We made 950 hp blower only with it and 1,200 hp on a 250 shot of nitrous, which was extremely impressive for a stock blower that came from Cadillac. It was ported though.”

After Felicia attended Sick Week in early 2022, she decided to go even further with the car and linked up with Boost District superchargers. The CTS-V now features a 2650 G2 Magnuson supercharger, which put the engine over the 1K horsepower mark at 1,060 hp on just the new blower.

“That was on a 3.25 upper and a 10.0 lower,” Smith notes. “We’re getting it dialed in.”

Of course, being new to drag racing, Felicia didn’t just rush out and run an 8-second pass. She gradually worked her way through various goals before she got there.

“My very first pass down the track, I was extremely nervous,” she remembers. “I actually did not make a full pass. I let out early and I rolled into it. I was just so nervous, and I ran 12.8 seconds in the V. That same day, I ended up getting down to a 10.8. It was super exciting to run 10s.

“Then, I wanted to run 9s. We ran nines and then I wanted to do wheelies, and I know that they don’t make the car any faster, but I just thought that having a four-door car that’s full weight with heated seats and AC and is daily driven, I thought if it could do a wheelie, that was the coolest thing in the world to me. The day I did my first wheelie, the car was actually still red. That’s how fast this progressed, and it’s been addicting ever since.”

As someone who is looking to inspire others to try the sport of drag racing, Felicia strives to remain relatable.

“I want other people to do this and I want them to get into racing, especially kids,” she says. “I think that the V is very relatable and I think that it’s doable, and from building it in the garage, we kind of show people that.”

While her husband Aaron is the mechanically inclined one of the two, Felicia has certainly picked up plenty of automotive knowledge.

“I haven’t done any actual engine building yet,” she says. “Other than that, everything that you see happens here in-house. I prefer to get in there, get dirty and know what I’m doing and know why I’m doing it.”

Due to Felicia’s social media presence, she’s put herself out there to inspire others looking to do the same thing, but she’s also put a target on her back for those who feel the need to tear people down. She’s been able to brush off any negativity and adversity.

“In the beginning, I feel like being a woman in motorsports was pretty difficult,” she says. “You were automatically judged. In my specific case, I would have people who automatically assumed that it was not my car. It is either my boyfriend’s car or my dad’s car or something along those lines. I actually had somebody tell me at a race once, just because I was female, that they would rather forfeit than lose to me because they didn’t want to lose to a female. Now, luckily, I feel like the more that I race and the more that I make a name for myself, the less that kind of stuff happens to me. You have to build the respect from people, whereas when a male comes in, you kind of don’t have to build that up.

“People don’t automatically assume that you have no idea what you’re doing, whereas when you’re a female in the industry, they do. You have a pretty tall wall that you have to get over in order to get that respect and have people treat you like you know what you’re doing. The fact is, you’re really there to race and I’m extremely competitive. I’ve never been that confident in things that I do, but racing is something that I’m very confident in. If somebody wants to second guess why I’m there or thinks that I don’t know what’s going on, it just gives me the advantage.”

In total, it’s taken Felicia six years to get to where she is now in the sport and with her CTS-V. She has worked hard to get here and to be a voice and an inspiration to others.

“I hear people say I wish I could do that, or I wish I had something like that,” Smith says. “What you have to understand is everybody starts somewhere. I didn’t start off with this. I didn’t start off running 8s. You can go out and race any vehicle that you have. It doesn’t matter what it is. Everybody starts somewhere and from there work your way up. I’ve been building the rocket for six years now.

“It’s not going to happen overnight. You’re going to go through some trial and error. You’re going to fall and you’re going to have to get back up. Sometimes the car is going to be down for a little bit, because those are just the kind of things that happen. If I could just convince people that you don’t have to have a racecar to race, then I think the industry would grow.”

Speaking of growth, Felicia’s drive to go faster continues to grow as well, and she has sights set on her fastest ETs yet.

“I’m hoping to see 8.80s before the end of the year on blower,” she says. “My ultimate goal is 8.50s. We’re redoing the nitrous system. We also put a parachute on the car. Hopefully we can redo the rear suspension this year too. Even though I’ve had the car for six years, every single time I start it, I still get that feeling. It doesn’t go away. I absolutely love it.”

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