About 40 competitors are gearing up for one of the biggest stock-car races in the Maritimes, and a 21-year-old New Brunswick woman is among them.

Sarah McKay grew up behind the wheel of whatever she could get her hands on. She started racing go-karts at the age of nine, eventually graduating to pro stock at 16.

Since then, the Quispamsis woman has made a name for herself. She was the first female to win a heat race in the Maritimes and the first to win rookie of the year, in 2014.

“No one really treats me any different and that's the best part,” says McKay. “They're not like, ‘Oh, she's a girl,’ or, ‘She can't do it.’ Everyone's really, especially my first year, everyone pushed me along, basically just treated me like I was another guy starting out.”

McKay will be hitting the track at the IWK 250 stock-car race this weekend. Last year, she crashed and broke her arm. So, this year, she’s set on finishing the grueling, four-hour race.

“Mentally, it's the hardest part for me,” says McKay. “Especially Antigonish, it's all walls around you. It's a really high-paced track compared to what I'm used to at 660, mostly it's just myself telling myself I can do it and I can be out there.”

It’s hard to miss number 32 on the track – speckles of pink set the pro-stock car apart. McKay says she never minds being the one that stands out.

“I have lots of little girl fans, so when they see the pink car out there, they're all cheering for it. I like to stick out a little bit, I always have.”

McKay’s father instilled her drive to succeed on the track and, now, the sport is something she can't get enough of.

“When they tell you the green flag's dropping, the feeling, you just, you'll never, you just have to do it to understand.”

The IWK 250 takes place at Riverside International Speedway this weekend.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown