McKenna Haase is Powered by Pork

posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016

McKenna Haase is exactly what you’d expect of an attractive and popular college freshman – mature, intelligent, self-confident, and heavily involved in school and community activities. A closer look at the 18-year-old daughter of Iowa Select Farms’ employee, Kevin Haase, and wife, Kelly, though, reveals so much more.

In addition to recently graduating with a 4.0 GPA and valedictorian of the 2015 class at Carlisle High School, McKenna was also co-president of STAND (Students Taking Action Not Drugs), a member of the varsity golf team, a volunteer junior-golf coach and volunteer assistant for Carlisle Community Elementary School.

She also has a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do where she “learns respect, leadership and discipline.” In addition, she has managed her own stock market accounts since age 14 and has attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting (headed by multibillionaire investor Warren Buffet) plus two summer business academies where “I’ve learned about business, finance and leadership.” Her business education continues this fall as a freshman at Drake University in Des Moines majoring in Finance.

McKenna’s eyes sparkle brightest, however, when the discussion turns to driving sprint cars at the Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa. Now in the seventh year overall of her racing career and third season in the Lucas Oil Championship Cup Series 305 division at Knoxville, McKenna made history last year when she became the first female ever to win a feature race at the world-famous sprint car track. Her long-term goal is competing in the top tier World of Outlaws sprint car racing series at tracks throughout the U.S.

Iowa Select Farms Partnership

And just as Iowa Select Farms understands the importance of teamwork in achieving success at each of its farms, McKenna knows the same is true in her work with the other members of Team Haase Racing (THR) and her sponsors—including Iowa Select Farms. 

“Iowa Select Farms is a great partner for THR because the missions of both companies are aligned in a way that will allow us both to reach our goals and experience success in 2016,” McKenna says. “With Iowa being the leading corn and pork producing state, as well as the "Sprint Car Capital of the World”, I'm excited to help unify members of both industries in a way that will complement each other in positive way. It’s truly an honor to represent Iowa Select Farms and be ‘Powered by Pork’, and I'm beyond thrilled to discover what this year has in store.”

Communications director Jen Sorenson says the partnership is a perfect match for Iowa Select Farms, as well. “We both strive for excellence in our work; we both believe in giving back to the community and in creating opportunities for youth, and we both love and celebrate the Power of Pork.”

McKenna believes Iowa Select Farms and Team Haase Racing possess several traits in common that contribute to each organization’s success. “First, Iowa Select Farms is extremely dedicated and passionate about all aspects of their company and employees and strives to make them the best they can be – from the well-being of the animals, to protecting the environment, to their excellent employment opportunities.

“THR also works hard to meet the needs of our partners, fans, crew, car, and driver and to make sure we provide the many branches of our team with the resources they need to be successful,” McKenna says.

“Secondly, Iowa Select Farms is committed to the communities and people where they live and work and gives back immensely through donations to end hunger, healthcare research/services, education, and support of the military,” McKenna continues. “This year my sprint car team is partnered with the Big Al Kids and Motorsports foundation to make a difference in the lives of children battling illnesses in which I will be participating in foundation fundraising events and making hospital visits. I also created a racing development program called Compass to help grow and develop youth racers and young racing fans in general.” 

It Started In Third Grade

McKenna’s love affair with racing dates back to elementary school. “I was in the third grade and met NASCAR superstar Kasey Kahne in a shopping mall at an autograph signing and started following his career,” she says. “Soon after, I attended a micro sprint race in Oklahoma with my grandparents and that’s when I discovered kids could race, too!”

Two years later, McKenna got behind the wheel of an outlaw sprint kart herself for the first time. “By never lifting (taking her foot off the accelerator) and running a smooth line, I impressed not only the other drivers, but my parents, as well, and that’s when we bought our first car. I’ve since moved up a class each year and began racing in the 305 sprint car division at Knoxville Raceway in 2014,” she says.

She’s stepping up to the 360 sprint car division at Knoxville this year and will ultimately take the big step to the 410 division as results warrant.

“I relate most of my success to all of the incredible people in my life,” McKenna says. “First off, my parents gave me a good start to my education at a young age and instilled a love of learning within me that hasn't died to this day.

“In racing, I've been supported by incredible partners, such as Iowa Select Farms, that have made each and every one of my racing accomplishments possible, in addition to great fans, tracks, and fellow racers,” McKenna continues. “Personally, all of my ventures and success have built upon one another because they have taught me that with each of my dreams, I might be my only believer in the beginning, but I should work until I reach a day when others have no choice but to believe with me!

“For me, the love of the sport is the most important thing,” McKenna concludes. “I truly believe racing is what I was meant to do even though I haven't known it my whole life. I'm determined to take my love for the sport as far as I possibly can, go where others haven't ever gone, and do things people never thought I could do.”