Women In Nascar

With all of the attention that Danica Patrick has been getting lately it made me start think when, if ever, women were going to show up on the Cup circuit.  I started with a pole on driverinsider.com and went from there.  I talked to people in Nascar chat rooms on AOLÒ, I talked to my friend that works in the Nascar community, and I even talked to friends that are Nascar fans.  I was shocked by a few of the answers I got. 

My feelings have always been that if a woman could get the job done then she deserved a ride.  I know it doesn't work that way.  Look at Kelly Earnhardt, her own father and brother said she was the best racer out of the family, and she is running Action instead of in a car.  I know there are a lot of factors in getting a cup ride, sponsorship being a major factor.  The female fan base is growing by leaps and bounds.  It is also a fact that many die-hard fans buy products that sponsor Nascar rides.  So why aren't female companies tapping that outlet with a sponsorship on a car driven by a female?  I'm afraid that I can't answer that question.

What about the fans?  How do they feel about a woman in their sport?  The majority of those that answered the poll said if they earn their way it's fine.  Two people thought absolutely.  I know that one of those absolutely could also be counted in the category of if they earned their way.  Three people thought as long as she was hot she could run.  I really don't think those people really want a female because looks don't matter.  I've yet to see a good-looking guy driver better than an ugly one.  Those opinions and comments didn't shock me as much as when I started chatting with people about it.  When just asked their feelings not given a set of choices to choose from the answers really varied. The other thing that shocked me I spoke to a woman who didn't think that there should be females in Nascar.  She told me that she felt that it was a man's sport and should remain that way.  Which shocked me because I was under the assumption that a female would want a female to root for.  Another person told me that he thought they should have their own division because the circuit had 43 men now no women.  Again though I found that the majority of the fans agreed with those on the board that if the earned their way then they should be given the chance.

So with the majority of the fans ok with the thought of women, I had to look at the men in the sport right now.  When I spoke to my friend he quickly pointed out to me that there already women in the sport.  They work for the team in various roles including tire specialist, engineers, and pr.  I then clarified my question and asked about drivers.  He, a PR person and media person for RIR, said he was all for it.  He liked the idea and thought that Erin Crocker was the real deal.  As far as, the rest of the Nascar community, he said the drivers for the most part were ok with it but they worry about losing their rides due to the push for a female.  He reiterated the manufactures pushing to get a female into victory lane.  This is where I figure a few of the drivers are getting their fears.  He thought the biggest issue facing a female right now would be the sponsors.  He's not sure why even female products don't want to step up and sponsor them.

So how long do we have to wait?  Well by the end of the season Erin Crocker will be in a Busch car for a few races.  I think by next year she will be in Busch full time.  So I think we are looking at two years at least before we have a full time female driver.  I think I can wait that long, since I've waited this long.


As always agree or disagree let me know on either on the message boards or email me at rissmeek@aol.com.


By Melissa Meek-Shields


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