I Had To Fix My Life

MSNBC.MSN.com – By Terri O’Connell

A NASCAR champion gave up everything to become a woman. Can she reclaim her racing life?

J.T. Hayes won over 500 regional and national championships in go-kart, midget and sprint racing and competed in NASCAR Winston Cup before undergoing sex-reassignment surgery in 1994 at age 30. During the two years she transitioned from man to woman, the Corinth, Miss., native raced throughout the South and California, wrapping an Ace bandage over her breasts to flatten them out (“Boys Don’t Cry”-style), wearing baggy T shirts and tucking her long hair under a baseball cap. Now as Terri O’Connell, she’s had very little luck breaking back into the racing world. O’Connell still lives in Corinth with her elderly mother and is working on a clothing line for female NASCAR fans. The petite redhead is also writing a memoir, “Dangerous Curves,” (due this fall). She’d like to get back on the track and is currently looking for a sponsor.

The terms transgendered and professional motor sports just don’t go together, especially when you say I’m 5 foot 6 inches and weigh 118 pounds. I have girl’s body?small, fragile and tiny.