Karen Salvaggio

Karen Salvaggio

Shift Up Now Karen Salvaggio

Karen began her racing career in 1985 at NASCAR dirt track events in California. She then moved to road racing with the Vintage Auto Racing Association (VARA), eventually competing in the Women’s Global GT with the American LeMans Series. Karen has secured more than 200 first place finishes in driving competitions, including Top Eliminator at the Pomona Drags 1999, 2009 and 2010 West Coast Challenge Series Championships, 2011 Western Endurance Racing Championship, and 2016 Northwest Vintage Racing Champion. She is a 4-time National Council of Corvette Club Champion, 4-time West Coast/So Cal Champion, and was named NASA Instructor Driver of the Year. Karen has competed nine times at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, most recently placing 2nd in Class at the 2018 race with the Shift Up Now team’s BMW Spec E30.

Karen joined Shift Up Now in 2018 as the team was preparing for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.  Her knowledge, experience and talent was instrumental in the success of the two car effort. She subsequently became President of Shift Up Now and runs all of the racing and driver development programs for the organization.

Karen served nine years in the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, working on B-52’s and KC-135 aircraft. In 1985, she left the military to pursue a career in education earning a Doctorate in organizational leadership, a Master’s Degree in education, and a Bachelor’s Degree in social science. She served 23 years as a teacher, principal, director of special education, and retired in the role of superintendent of schools.

Karen is an active member of SEMA, serving as a Select Committee member on the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN). She was featured on the PowerBlock Detroit Muscle television show as team lead for an all-girl build of a 427 Cobra Roadster. Karen also was Technical Lead for Project Valkyrie, an all-women’s build of a 1969 American Motors AMX, and has been featured on Velocity Channel’s All Girls Garage. She is a personal coach and a driving instructor with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and the Track Guys organization, builds Factory Five Racing Coupes, and continues to develop Thunder Valley Racing as the premier source of racing equipment and support for women racers.