Fabulous People: Travis Shumake

Phoenix’s Travis Shumake is a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Top Fuel Pilot and team owner of Shumake Racing. “Having an impressive track record of hitting speeds exceeding 300 miles per hour, I not only have an unwavering commitment to my craft, but my identity as well,” says the second-generation drag racer. “As the first openly gay driver to compete at the top level of any American racing league, I’m blazing a trail to make the sport more welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community and draw new fans to the $6-billion motorsports industry.” Locals can see Shumake on the track at the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series from April 5 to April 7 at Firebird Motorsports Park in Chandler. Learn about Travis Shumake…

Follow at: @travieshu

Hometown: Phoenix

First job: My first job was working at the Gap at Metrocenter Mall. I loved it and developed a profound appreciation for customer service. Learning how to interact with people and treat them with respect is a foundation upon which I’ve built my career.

Favorite way to spend your free time in AZ: You can find me wandering around Downtown Phoenix soaking up the urban vibes. 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My most profound accomplishment has easily been being a foster parent. All children should have someone who cares about them and provides a safe space. It is a privilege I will never take for granted.

The biggest obstacle you overcame:  My journey has been marked by the challenge of assimilating into racing, which is traditionally a conservative space. I have navigated this industry with patience and persistence, recognizing that societal transformation is an incremental process. But I have also been pleasantly surprised by the support I have received from many. 

Someone who inspires you and why: Judith Light. She has delivered decade after decade as an American icon and has been transformative across many chapters of her life. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Formulate a comprehensive plan and commit it to paper. While driving in a straight line isn’t hard, launching a business is. It demands meticulous planning and unwavering determination.

Favorite quote: “My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—It gives a lovely light!” —“First Fig,” a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I boast a competitive streak as a five-time cheerleading world champion—an aspect of my past that often catches others off guard.

What makes someone fabulous: Someone who gives zero F’s and rolls with the punches. I admire anyone who is unabashedly themselves and realizes life is too short to worry about the small things. 

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