I was interviewing Jr. I would have broken out the Budweiser and relaxed. Shortly after that thought though, Kelly was on the phone and it was time to get down to business.
I don't think you can do a story on her without touching the subject of MS. Her sponsor, Copaxone, is what she uses to control her MS. She is fortunate enough with the exposure she has as a driver in the Craftsman Truck series to help others. She is able to travel all over speaking with others that have the disease, as well as, doctors. Kelly is getting ready to just that as soon as the race weekend is over.
Kelly was certain why there aren't more women in racing. She herself is a third generation racer. It's what she grew-up with and what she loves to do. I can understand that, my dad raced locally and I thought everyone was a race fan. Kelly thinks that eventually a major car owner in the Cup series will sign a female driver. I personally am looking forward to that day.
Kelly feels totally accepted by the men in the sport. She doesn't think that they treat her any differently because she is female. I think that sometimes we, those on the outside, have thought that they do. It's refreshing to know that the drivers don't view her differently because she is a woman.
I had predetermined what I thought her biggest obstacle might be. I figured it would be the simple fact that she is a woman or that she has MS. I was wrong. Not unlike many single parents in the world, her job is not her biggest obstacle; it's raising her fifteen-year-old daughter. I find this very refreshing. Many times I believe, we, in the media and the fans, build the drivers up to be on pedestals and the honest truth in Kelly's statement just proves they go through all the trials and tribulations that the rest of the world does.
I have for years wanted to see more sponsorships that targets women. With the female fan base growing there should be more out there besides laundry detergent. When I asked Kelly about this she said, "It's a great opportunity for them. I hope to see more." I do too.
I asked her one last question before I thanked her for her time and it was time for her to get back to work. What was it like the first time you drafted? No it didn't follow the angle of my story but it was something I have always wanted to know. With a small giggle she answered, "I did it the first time back in the (Goody's) Dash series. It was cool."
I'm sure it was Kelly and I can say the same for interviewing her.
For more information on Kelly visit her website at www.kellygirlsutton.com, or for more information on the Craftsman Truck Series visit www.nascar.com/series/truck. As always you can reach me with your thoughts and comments on this or any of my other articles at email@example.com.
By Melissa Meek-Shields