On this page we'll pay tribute to the Ladies of NASCAR.
Of course several of the 'original' Ladies it is hard to come up with pictures of; but I'll do the best I can, and give you what info I can come up with.
I guess the easiest way to go about this is introduce the gals in the order they first raced in NASCAR.
SARA CHRISTIAN - 8/25/1918 - 3/7/1980 - The first NASCAR race was held at Charlotte, NC on June 19, 1949. The first woman driver in NASCAR history is said to be Sara Christian who raced in the first event. She qualified 13th in the #71 Ford owned by her husband Frank Christian. She is credited with finishing 14th. In the fourth race of the season Sara finished sixth, becoming the first female to earn a top 10 finish. In the next to last race of the 1949 season on October 2nd in Pittsburgh, PA; Sara raced to a fifth place finish. The only time to date a female has finished in the top five in a CUP race. The second ever NASCAR race was held on July 10, 1949 on the Daytona Beach Road Course. This time Sara's husband Frank also started the race,
making them the first husband/wife combo to start a NASCAR race until 1986. Frank finished 6th while Sara came home 18th. This race also saw the next two female drivers join the ranks. (continued below)
Both Louise Smith, and Ethel Flock Mobley raced in this event. Louise Smith - 7/31/1916 - 4/15/2006 - was known as 'the first lady of racing'. She went as a spectator to her first NASCAR race at the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1949. She could not stand watching the races, so she entered her family's shiny new Ford coupe in the race and rolled it. She finished 20th. She returned to Greenville by bus and when her husband asked why, she told him the car had broken down in Augusta, Ga. He then produced a copy of the local newspaper with a photo of the crash and a headline "Louise Smith Wrecks At Daytona." Her hometown Greenville, SC. paper featured photos of the wreck, and the town knew about it before she got home. She raced from 1949 to 1956. She won 38 races in her career in numerous formats: late models, modifieds (28 victories), midgets, and sportsman. In 1999 she became the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Smith competed in more CUP races than any woman; until Janet Guthrie started racing in 1976.
Meanwhile, Ethel Flock Mobley - 3/8/1914 - 6/26/1984 - finished 11th. This would be the first time three ladies started in the same NASCAR race until July 4, 1977. Ethel was the sister of the "Flying Flocks" which included her brothers Tim, Bob, and Fonty Flock. This race was also the first to feature a brother/sister tandum, and the first to feature four siblings in the same race. Ethel raced in just two Cup events, however she raced in over 100 modified races in her career. She was the top rated woman driver in all the South Eastern United States.
Ann Chester was the fourth woman to compete at the CUP level. Not much is known about her career; outside the fact that her first race was on June 18, 1950 at Vernon Fairgrounds in Vernon NY; where she wheeled her Plymouth to a 22nd place finish. Her second start that season would be at Hamburg Speedway (Hamburg, NY) where she would have an accident and be out of the event just before 1/2 way. She ended up finishing 21st. These would be her only two career starts.
Ann Bunselmeyer made her only career CUP start also that same year at Vernon Speedway in the fall event, She drover her Packard to a respectable 18th place finish in a field of 29. We jump to 1954 before we see the next new female driver compete in the Cup ranks.
Hardly anything is know about Marian Pagan.; wife of Cup driver Eddie Pagan. History shows she competed in just one career CUP event (in 1954). It would come at Oakland Stadium in Oakland Ca. She would start 30th and complete the race finishing 18th.
Fifi Scott made two starts in 1955. She would be the seventh female to run a Cup event. Her first start was at the Arizona State Fairgrounds on May 8. She did a good job in the race, until her Hudson had tires issues, and she was done for the event. She finished 23rd. Her second (and last) career start came the following week At Martinsville Speedway in Va. (What a haul to race your only two career CUP races). Arizona one week, Virginia the next. In any event she did well, starting 19th and wheeling her Hudson to a 13th place finish.
Goldie Parsons - 8/17/1922 - ? added her name to the list of female NASCAR drivers in 1965. Driving the Buck Baker owned #89 Oldsmobile, she finished 14th still running, even if it was 58 laps behind. She won $100 (big money for those days.) She is in the car in the lower left of this photo racing at the Moyock Dog Track in extreme northeastern North Carolina.
Janet Guthrie - 3/7/1938 - would be the next lady to race at NASCAR's highest level. Now we jump up to 1976, and the more 'modern' days of NASCAR; as Guthrie would move from racing in the Indy car series, to racing in the NASCAR series. Although she always had underfunded, second rate equipment she did a respectable job behind the wheel. Guthrie raced in 33 events, by far the most by a woman up to this time (and currently it is still second most ever in CUP competition). Not only did she have to learn about the differences between driving the sleek fast Indy cars, and the bulking heavy stock cars,... she had to try and break the gender gap that was prevalent in the NASCAR garage. Guthrie only raced part time, but is well know for her green Kelly Girl staffing sponsored Chevy. Still Guthrie gave it the best she had, and was able to be fairly competitive. She made 33 career starts, with he best Daytona 500 finish being 11th in 1979. She was the first woman to ever run in the Daytona 500 also... Her career best finish was a sixth place finish at Bristol Tn on August 28th. She had four career top 10 finishes, but that stat doesn't tell the whole story. For her 33 career starts Guthrie posted 18 career top 15 finishes. That's over 50%; and strong running for a underfunded team, and driver who the male drivers looked down upon and did not offer any support. If
she would of been in top notch equipment, and had technical support like these days, she might have been a front runner.
Christine Beckers - 12/4/1943 - Beckers was from Belgium and joined Guthrie in the 1977 Daytona Fire Cracker 400. This would be her only career start. She would start 37th; but have brake issues and also finish 37th. Interesting enough Guthrie and Beckers would not be the only women in the 400 this year. Becker's car was fielded by Junie Dunlavey. One of the few times he ever entered more than one car.
Lella Lombardi - 3/26/1941 - 3/3/1992 - would join Guthrie and Beckers in the 400. Having already made history racing in Europe in Formula1, this would be Lombardi's lone NASCAR Cup start. In the race she completed 103 laps and was the best female finisher on that day coming home 31st. Lombardi's car owner was Charles Dean and sponsored by Bearfinder. Guthries Chevy blew a motor on lap #11. Lombardi would fall out after 103 laps due to rear end issues. This was the second occasion of three different women racing in the same event. Below Lombardi is shown in the #05 racing with James Hylton in the #48. She passed away from cancer at the age of 50.
Robin McCall - 1/20/1964 - became the 12th female driver in the CUP series in 1982. She ran both races at Michigan International speedway, but fell out of both. She finished 29th with a blown motor and 33rd when she crashed. McCall piloted the #5 Buick owned by JD Stacy.
Patty Moise - 12/29/1960- and her husband Xfinity series Champ Elton Sawyer became the second husband/wife due to ever race in the CUP series. Patty made five Cup starts, but never found much success having a career best finish of 30th. She made some of her starts in the #45 Freedom Buick. She was a regular in the Xfinity series making 133 starts in that series, and recording a best finish of 7th at Talladega wheeling the #40 Purex Ford.
Alright, this one is kind of weird. You see, technically, Terri O’Connell wasn’t a woman when she made her one and only NASCAR start at the 1990 Goodwrench 500. Yep, that’s right. Back in 1990, she was a he, and his name was J.T. Hayes. At the Goodwrench 500, Hayes started 38th and finished 38th after completing only 10 laps. In 1994, though, Hayes had sex reassignment surgery and became Terri O’Connell. I guess technically this shouldn’t count as a female driver, since at the time Terri was biologically male. But he felt like a woman on the inside, and I just couldn’t leave out the first and only transgendered driver in NASCAR (that we know of).
Shawna Robinson - 11/30/1964 - made her CUP debute at Michigan in 2001. She started 32nd in her Aaron's Dream Machine Ford. She completed all but three laps. This was her lone start in 2001. In 2002 she raced seven more times, and finished 24h, her best career CUP finish. Like Patty Moise, Robinson did most of her racing in the Nationwide series. She posted her career best finish of 10th on the Watkins Glen road course on June 25th, 1994. she spent a big part of her career sponsored by Polaroid. some races she was sponsored by Vasserette. A ladies lingerie company. They had an interesting logo also. If you look at the hood of the car you'll see a red and white circle. If you 'see' it correctly it looks like a ladies behind in sexy thong panties.
Danica Patrick - 3/20/1982 - Which brings us to the 16th and most recent lady to join the sorority of female NASCAR drivers who have competed in NASCAR top series. Danica Patrick. Cut much out of the mold as Janet Guthrie, Danica came into the sport as a 'racer'. She came to prove herself, and to compete against the best in the business. Having already had some success in the Indy car series (including a win in Japan) she made the big step over to stock cars. She ran a part time schedule in 2012, before going full time in the Cup series in 2013. At Daytona that year she won the pole for the 500. The first pole ever won by a woman driver. she posted three Top 10 finishes in 2014 with her best finish of sixth coming at Atlanta. She posted three additional Top 10's in her career. The last two year of her career she showed improvement; but it seemed many times she had a good run going she would get caught up in someone else's issues and get crashed. She retired from full time driving at the end of the 2017 season. Her
"Farewell Tour" in 2018 will be what she called the "Danica Double". She is driving her final Cup race (Daytona 500) and final Indy Car race (Indy 500).
NOW WE WILL CONTINUE ON AND COVER THE LADIES THAT HAVE RACED IN NASCAR'S TWO LOWER DIVISIONS.
First is the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Tina Gordon - 3/14/1969 - was the third female to race in this series. Patty Moise (1986) and Shawna Robinson (1991) were the first two ladies to compete in the Xfinity Series. 2001 was when Gordon made her first start, she started 42nd, but due to lack of funds, they decided to park after only one lap. Her next start didn't come until 2003, and she would post her career best finish. After starting 38th, she drove a good race, and finished in 10th place. She only ran 12 more events in her career. She also competed in 16 Truck series races, with best finishes of 13th at Nashville, and Charlotte.
Tami Jo Kirk - 5/6/1962 - - is the next female driver. She ran her first race in 2003 and ran 15 events that season. All in the Advil Liqui-Gels Ford. Her best finish was 21st at Pike Peak. She also ran 32 races in the Camping World Truck series in 1997-1998 with a best finish of 11th at Topeka KS. She posted 14 top 16 finishes. She is also a winner of the prestigious Snow Ball Derby Super Late Model race.
Jennifer Jo Cobb - 6/12/1973 - joined the Xfinity Series in 2004. Cobb made her first start on November 20th at Homestead Fl. She started 28th but crashed out on the second lap. To date Cobb has ran in 30 Xfinity events with a best finish of 22nd at Kansas in 2012. She now spends the majority of her time racing in the Camping World Truck series. She has ran 151 races in that series, racing in a majority of the events the last six years. She has a career best finish of 6th at Daytona in 2011 after she started 31st. She still races full time in the Truck Series as of 2018.
Kim Crosby - 12/8/1964 - also joined the Xfinity series in 2004. Crosby originally was a drag racer, competing in the NHRA and IHRA for fifteen years. She began oval racing in 2000. Before she became a NASCAR driver, she served as a middle school principal in Slidell, LA, resigning in December 2004 to focus full-time on her racing career. Crosby ran her first race in April 24th, 2004 at Talladega where she finished 20th. She ran just a hand full of races over a three year span totaling 10 events. Her initial start she posted her best career finish of 20th. One of her normal sponsors was Boudreaux's Butt Paste (diaper rash ointment). In 2008, she was listed as one of the drivers for the #15 truck for Billy Ballew Motorsports in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as a teammate to Kyle Busch. Sponsorship never materialized, however, and Kim was unable to make a start for the team. In 2009 Crosby was a driver for Monster Jam, piloting the monster trucks known
as Monster Mutt Dalmatian and Madusa (normally driven by fellow extreme athlete Debrah Miceli) in Central America as part of Monster Jam's World Tour.
Eric Crocker - 3/23/1981 - joined the NASCAR sorority in 2005. Crocker was a sprint car ace. She was the first female to win a World of Outlaws Feature event. She joined Ray Evernham Motorsports and drove 10 events in a two year period. (2005-2006). She had limited success posting a best finish of 19th. She also ran 29 Truck series races from 2005-2008. Her best finish of 14th came at Daytona in 2008. Crocker and car owner Evernham started having an affair and when CUP driver Jeremy Mayfield had issues with Evernham he spilled the beans on the affair. This virtually ended Crocker's career. Crocker and Evernham were married on August 26th, 2009 in Las Vegas. Crocker is shown with Evernham below.
Mara Reyes - 3/12/1977 - also ran her first and only Xfinity Race in 2005. It would come at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City Mexico. She would start 39; complete the race; and finish 35th. She was the first Latin woman to compete in the NASCAR Series.
Chrissy Wallace - 5/15/1988 - daughter of NASCAR driver Mike Wallace, and niece of NASCAR drivers Kenny and Rusty Wallace. At 19 in 2007, Wallace became the first female driver to ever win at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. She ran her first Xfinity race in 2010. Before that she ran a total of seven Truck series events in 2008-2009. Wallace's two Xfinity Series races were at the speed factories of Daytona and Talladega. She started 35th in the Daytona race, but crashed out before completing the first lap. She had better luck at Talladega. She started 18, and finished one lap down in 24th. She has not ran a NASCAR race since 2010. In 2011, Wallace became the first woman to win an American Speed Association Late Model track championship at Lebanon/I-44 Speedway, the same track where her father Mike won the championship in 1990.
Maryeve Dufault - 2/16/1982 - were the first of three gals to make their way into the Xfinity Series in 2011. Dufault, a Canadian racing driver, model and advertising spokeswoman has raced in the Skip Barber, Formula BMW, Formula Renault, Star Mazda, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series. Dufault made her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 20, 2011 driving for MacDonald Motorsports. She started 39th and finished 30th when a transmission mount broke. In November 2013, it was announced that Dufault would drive in the full 2014 ARCA Racing Series season for Team Stange Racing, as well as competing in twelve NASCAR Xfinity Series events for Go Green Racing. However that did not materialize. S he has not raced since. Dufault won Miss Hawaiian Tropic International in 2000, beating over 35,000 competitors for the honor. She has appeared on a number of television shows and movies like Driven, Entourage, The Bold and the Beautiful, to name just a
few and including the American game show "The Price Is Right" during the Bob Barker era. Dufault said that she modeled to earn money to be a race car driver. "I wasn’t buying myself clothes. I was buying tires," Dufault said to the New York Post. "I am a racer who uses modeling jobs to pay my bills.
Twins Amber and Ashley Cope - 8/18/1983 - also drove their first Xfinity series starts in 2011. Previously the pair had made NASCAR history on October 23, 2010 by being the first twins to compete in one of its top three series. That day they made their NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series in Martinsville, VA. Amber finished 26th and Angela finished 30th. The Cope twins are niece's of Cup Daytona 500 winner Derrick Cope. The twins have each started just a hand full of races. Amber Cope has ran in two events; the first in 2011 in Iowa. She started 43rd, but managed to move up and finish 32nd. In that same race Angela finish 38th. Amber other start came in 2012. This time she started 42nd, but drove to a 26th place finish. Amber has also made one Truck series start; at Martinsville; finishing 26th. Angela Cope has ran in seven events so far. All of her starts came in 2011 and 2012. She has a best finish of 25; coming at New Hampshire after starting 39th. Five years later, in 2017, Angela Ruch (her married name) competed in four Xfinity series events driving for BJ McLeod.
Johanna Long - 5/26/1992 - She is a great Super Late Model racer, having won one the Crown Jewels of that division; the Snow Ball Derby in 2010. Tami Jo Kirk had also won the Snow Ball Derby in 1994. Long has run the majority of the Xfinity races in 2012 and 2013. All of these events for car owner Mary Louise Miller, and most for sponsor ForeTravel Motorcoach. Her best qualifying effort was in Richmond starting 8th. To date her best finish is 12th; on three occasions. Daytona, Kentucky, and Iowa. She has had 18 top 20 finishes. Long has ran in 24 Truck series events in 2010-2011. Her best start was 5th at Daytona, while she best finish was 11th at Fort Worth TX. She had 11 top 20 finishes. She had plans for the full 2014 Xfinity series; but that fell apart and she spent all of that year racing Pro Late Models at Five Flags Speedway while searching for sponsorship. In 2016, Long married Kyle Busch Motorsports engineer and fellow short track driver Hunter Robbins.
FINALLY WE WILL CONCLUDE WITH THE LADIES THAT HAVE RACED IN NASCAR'S TRUCK SERIES.
Angie Wilson - 12/29/1974 - raced in 2002 for Rick Ware Racing. Her first start was at Martinsville, where she posted her best career finish of 23rd. Three of her four races she finished in the top 25. All of those came in 2002, driving the #81 Ware Racing Enterprises truck. In her debut, Angie qualified 34th. She ran well, and despite falling out late, Angie finished 23rd. It would turn out to be her best career finish. She then followed that up with finishes of 25th at Gateway and Pikes Peak. After a 34th place finish at Dover. Even though the rookie showed great promise right from the start, she was released from her contract; and has not raced in NASCAR since.
Teri MacDonald - 11/8/1963 - also broke into the NASCAR scene in 2002. during the 1990s MacDonald was a member of the PPG Pace Car Team, a group of professional drivers who drove the pace car at Indy Car events. She also drove in competition in sports cars, including the IMSA series. An accident at Road Atlanta in 1997 nearly ended her career; MacDonald suffered a broken neck, and she was forced to wear a halo to stabilize her head and neck. Following her recovery, MacDonald returned to sports car racing; in 2000, she moved to stock cars, competing in the American Speed Association's National Tour before joining the CASCAR Super Series, Canada's top stock car series, for the 2001 season. She finished 14th in points, scoring two top 10 finishes over the course of the year. MacDonald made her debut in NASCAR's national touring series in 2002, in the Craftsman Truck Series at Memphis Motorsports Park. Her brother; Randy MacDonald also competed in the race, making the siblings the first brother-sister combination to compete against each other in a top-level NASCAR race since Tim Flock and Ethel Flock Mobley in 1949. She raced in seven Truck Series events
over a three year span. In 2004 Teri made her best career start of 18th at Mansfield Speedway. She parlayed that start into her best career finish coming home 25th when the checkers fell. Also in this race were the drivers of Tina Gordon, and Kelly Sutton, the third time three females had competed in the same NASCAR race. Her final start came at Memphis in 2004. She later married Charles Cadieux and they have one son.
Kelly Sutton - 9/24/1971 - In 2003 Kelly 'Girl' Sutton make her debut in NASCAR. Sutton began racing at the age of 10 before her career was halted due to her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis at the age of sixteen. She resumed racing in 1992 at Old Dominion Speedway, driving in the Pro Mini Stock Series. During her first year of competition, Sutton won the Hard Charger and Sportsmanship awards. During her three years competing in the series, she won seven feature races and won the Most Popular Driver award all three years. Sutton would not race again until 1997 in the Allison Pennsylvania Legacy Series. She won two feature races and the Most Popular Driver Award. The next year, she competed in the Parts Pro Truck Series, where she won one qualifying race and the Oral B Close Brush Award. (Parts Pro Truck Series is where I was an official for several years). Sutton made her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in 2003 at Memphis Motorsports Park, where she started 34th and finished
27th after suffering early transmission failure. She ran three more races that year, her best finish being a 19th at the season-ending Ford 200. She made her first full-time bid for the championship in 2004, with sponsorship from Copaxone. Sutton worked her way up to the NASCAR Truck series, and had her best start in 2004 at Las Vegas starting 14th. She finished 15th in Charlotte for her best career finish. She would race for five seasons and start 54 races. Kelly was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was the only person to race with that disease, until Trevor Bayne was also diagnosed with it in 2013. What makes this a 'feel good' story is that throughout her career her
sponsor was "Team Copaxone". Copaxone is made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, and they sponsored the race vehicle every season she raced. Recently Sutton was riding on the back of her friends motorcycle when he hit a curb and crashed. He was killed and Sutton received massive injuries. After two weeks on life support and three months in the hospital, Sutton again defied the odds and last heard is currently under going therapy and is on a slow steady path to recovery.
Deborah Renshaw - 10/28/1975 - came to the Truck series in 2004. Renshaw first participated in NASCAR when she began racing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series in 2001 and 2002. Renshaw would spend the 2002 season in the ARCA Re/MAX Series, where she finished in the top ten three times. She was involved in an accident that claimed the life of fellow driver Eric Martin. After Martin had originally spun out during a practice session in Charlotte, he was alive and talking to his crew over the radio. Three cars that approached Martin's car were unaware that he was there because their spotters were not in the stands; however, they avoided Martin's car as it slowly rolled across the track and into the wall. 16 seconds after it came to rest Renshaw, also without a spotter, collided with him at full speed, causing Martin's death. The incident prompted the mandation of spotters whenever their driver was on the track in NASCAR and ARCA. Renshaw ran in 14 of the last 15 races of the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, driving the #29 Ford F-150 for K-Automotive Motorsports. Although she finished no higher than 15th in any race, she became
the first woman to ever lead a race in the series when she led one lap in the Darlington 200. She was also the first woman to ever race a full schedule in one of NASCAR's top three series. Renshaw joined Bobby Hamilton Racing's driver development program in December 2004. Replacing Chase Montgomery. She made 38 starts in 2004-2005. Her best start was in Nashville in 2005, where she started 8th. Her best finish was 12th at Dover. Renshaw's sponsor (EasyCare) had announced it would not continue in NASCAR as a sponsor, and that caused owner Bobby Hamilton to have to cut back to a part-time schedule for 2006. The pullout by EasyCare cost her her ride, and effectively ended her race career.
Michelle Theriault - 4/17/1986 - has chased her NASCAR dream since she was a child. In 2008 she was able to move into the NASCAR Truck series. She made six career starts, from 2008-2010 with her best start being 28th, and her best finish 27th. Due to mechanical issues she has yet to complete a race. Only once has she crashed in an event. Michelle's progression forward was slowed because of lack of sponsorship. She hasn't raced since 2011 when she raced the K&N Series.
Gabi DiCarlo - 7/10/1985 - Raced in the ARCA Series in 2007 and 2008 with Stringer Motorsports. In 2007, she finished 11th in driver points, and in 2008 she was 14th in driver points, and posted three Top 10 finishes. Gabi's 2009 racing plans had her running seven Truck races and 13 ARCA races. She ran three truck events finishing every event and finished inside the Top 20 two of the three runs. She also ran eight ARCA events and finished inside the Top 15 four times. After an extensive search I have failed to come up with why her career ended after such a promising start.
Caitlin Shaw - 8/28/1989 - also came onto the scene in 2009. Shaw is the second youngest woman to compete in NASCAR's top three series (behind Johanna Long). She is also the only woman from the state of New Mexico to ever compete in any of NASCAR's top three series. Shaw's early career began in 1999 when she began competing in the Quarter Midget's of America organization. Shaw transitioned into the USAC (United States Auto Club) ranks beginning in the Ford Focus Midget Series where she was Sportsman of the Year and competed in events coast to coast. In 2008 Shaw gained speed in her career as she was offered her first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Test with Toyota Racing Development's Germain Racing. Shaw tested alongside A. J. Allmendinger, Todd Bodine, and Chrissy Wallace. Shaw competed in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series in the spring of 2009 accumulating several top-ten finishes. In July 2009, Shaw was the only woman on the track as she made her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at O'Reilly Raceway Park in the Red Horse Racing #1 Toyota. Shaw completed the race in the 24th position. It was her only start that year. She raced just once again the following season. It would come at Phoenix Raceway and it would be her final career start. She would start 33rd and finish 30th after a crash just past half way. She has not raced since.
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