07/26/2012 01:30 pm ET

Raceway Park, New Jersey, Is A Friendly Spot For Teen Girls To Drag Race (WATCH)

"Ever since I was little, I had a need for speed," said 15-year-old Ashley Weber told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

The New Jersey teen, along with her friends, is a drag racer in Raceway Park's Junior Drag Racing League. The young athletes drive half-size versions of professional drag racing cars and can zoom around at up to 85 miles per hour in just 7.9 seconds on an eighth-mile track.

Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, provides a space for racers ages eight to 17 to practice and compete. Half of their racers are girls, a rarity in drag racing.

"When I was seven or eight, my dad brought me to a drag race for big cars and I thought it was the coolest thing. I just looked at him and was like, 'I want to do that!'" said 14-year-old Michelle Bongiovanni. "I like the attention I get from it, like, 'Isn't that a guy sport?' I think it's cool that I'm a girl and I drag race."

Drag racers aren't the only athletes who struggle to overcome stereotypes about femininity. Eighteen-year-old Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith was blasted with negative comments on Twitter and told she looked like a "bloke." Smith responded, "Maybe they're right -- in the Victorian era. To think people still think like this in 2012 in laughable!"

And 19-year-old endurocross racer Nicole Madsen -- one the few young women in the male-dominated sport -- finished ninth in this month's X Games, despite another challenge: competing with diabetes.

Have you ever pushed gender boundaries and tried something new? Are you inspired by these fearless female athletes? Sound off in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen!


U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team