It's OK to call my mom fast



PHOTO BY LINDA WIGGINSHi there, everyone. I’m Nitro, resident greeter at Larsen Motorsports and expert on all things mom! Although, I think you know her as Elaine Larsen. She is one of the fastest drivers in the world, but she doesn’t have to worry about getting a ticket. My mom drives jet-powered dragsters for a living. 

While I love going for car rides with her, when she gets in her racer, I’m all right watching from the sidelines with my dad, Chris. 

If you asked me to describe my mom, I would say that she is one of the most amazing humans in the world. 

She races for a living, runs a business and still has time for me and the rest of our family. She is so giving, always wanting young children to get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). I like it when those kids come visit the shop because that means I get more attention. 

Speaking of attention, attendees of the 2017 Boomer Guide Expo got to spend time with me and my mom at Larsen Motorsports in Palm Bay when we hosted the event Feb. 17. 

People get to have a hands-on experience with the jet cars that allow my mom to race down the track at more than 270 miles per hour. 

Mom has been racing jet cars for 16 years and has been in the motorsports industry for even longer. 

When I came into the family she already was racing jet cars. I remember my first race. I was a little scared because these cars make a lot of noise, but my brother Andrew held me tight and told me it was OK. 

Our mom was just working. After that, I realized that the races were a pretty cool place. People come up to you and pet you and some of them even bring me treats. 

We get some pretty cool people stopping by the shop. Jay Leno came by and met everyone. Jay likes to eat ribs, and I was hoping he would drop one or two. 

Mom had to fly out to California to film a TV show called “To Tell the Truth.” I didn’t like that very much, but when she came home she gave me extra hugs. 

One of the best parts of my family is that we all work together. 

Everyday I ride to work with my mom and, when we get to work, there are a bunch of interns working. They all are busy building jet cars. 

When they aren’t at the shop, they go to school at the Florida Institute of Technology. I was able to go to 

that school once, but I heard there was a Panther on the loose and his name was Pete. So, I decided maybe the best place for me was back at the shop making sure everything is running smoothly. 

My mom tells me I have a very important job. Looking this cute takes a lot of time. 

This Boomer Guide feature spotlights my mom’s life, her loves (including me, Nitro; my dad/her husband Chris; and son Andrew among them, but maybe not in that order). 

I think the best thing about my mom is she never gives up. Not that long ago, she had a really bad wreck and I was very scared. She had to stay in the hospital for a long time, but my dad came home every night and told me it was going to be OK. 

When she came home, I had to be very careful and take care of her. They said she hurt her head, but she looked just like my mom that I always loved. I kept her safe and cuddled with her until she felt better. We are best friends. 

After that, we moved here to Palm Bay. I really like it here. I have a big yard to play in, and everyone is so nice. The new shop is so much fun, and I have lots of room to play. When you come to the shop, you will see how we build all of our racing cars. Mom says maybe one day they will build one for me. I feel as if I will go very fast. 

A lot of people wonder how my mom and dad met. It is one of my favorite stories. Sometimes, when my mom rubs my belly, she tells me the story. 

David Rochelle, left, Andrew Larsen, Paige Sanchez, Chris Larsen, Nitro and Brian Tocci are fixtures at Larsen Motorsports in Palm Bay. | PHOTO BY LINDA WIGGINS

THE STORY OF MOM AND DAD 

Mom grew up in a Mennonite farming family, observing an Amish-like limited acceptance of automobiles and technology. 

“When I first met Chris, I was only 16 years old. So a relationship was the furthest from my mind. I thought that he was cute, drove a nice car — a ‘32 Ford Deuce Coupe,” Elaine Larsen recalled. 

“But after we met, we really clicked. He was my first real boyfriend and I was his first real girlfriend. He was just so easy to talk to and he was such a sweetheart, opening doors, helping me with my coat, a real gentleman.” 

The pair grew up and met in the tiny town of St. Johns, Mich., near Lansing. 

When they moved to Florida, my mom caught the need for speed. So they bought their first race car. Man, do I wish I could have seen that. 

Mom proved she had what it took to go fast, and dad is a natural with a wrench. It didn’t take them long to realize that they loved racing, and who wouldn’t. 

Dad built my mom her first jet car and, since then, we have been speeding our way across the country getting to meet some amazing people and seeing some really cool things. 

Did you know that the grass up North is really soft? I like rolling around in it. 

If you ever visit us at Larsen Motorsports in Palm Bay, don’t forget to bring me a bone.