Ray Sylvester was in our shop the other day buying drag tires after March Meet and what a character I found him to be. I really enjoyed his spirit when he talked about his life, team, and especially daughter Becky. He told me that Becky was the “Pilot of The Original California Rattler” and was so proud. I found his story to embody the essence of the drag racing culture with all of its failures and triumphs. Kind of like life I would say.
I contacted Becky to see if she had the same passion and ambition as her father. It was not disappointing and decided to do a piece on her and
the team. I’ll let Becky’s words describe the history of the team and her piloting career:
Original California Rattler Racing started back in 1968. My father Crazy Ray Sylvester has been tuning & piloting blown cars since then. In 1984 I Becky “The Rattler” Sylvester was born. When I was oh about 6 years old, I had a mechanic rag in my back pocket following my father’s every move in the pits & after he got out of his race car! In 2003, my senior year of high school, I approached my dad and said, “Dad I want to driveyour altered/funny car”. He told me he thought, “no way she is just pulling my chain.” Low & behold a couple of trips toLos Angeles County Raceway in Palmdale and I got my NHRA license! For the past 9 years, I get into my fire suit and onlookers can’t believe a 5’2 female is going to drive that bad to the bone funny car/altered. I’ve had two three close calls but GOD was looking over me! I encourage females to get out there & do what their dreams are no matter what people say!
2011 was a tough year for the family and team. A crash at Barona Raceway and death in the family ended their season. Ray and Becky however are bouncing back and rebuilding the car. Their first race back will be in April or May of 2012.