When most people hear NASCAR, they probably imagine male drivers in racing suits speeding on the track. However, in recent years the motorsport has become female friendly. Especially since NASCAR has made efforts to have more woman drivers. From single moms to models turned NASCAR drivers, we covered them all. These women are fiercely strong, both on and off the track.
Isabelle Tremblay has many hobbies- modeling, knitting, and gardening. But one of her biggest hobbies is racing cars. Tremblay is the only woman to compete in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. In one interview she talked about the experience, “once you’re on the track, it’s not woman racing men. It’s all about drivers racing other drivers. The guys don’t play nice with me because I’m a girl. The same rules apply for everyone.”
Although Abbott only worked with NASCAR for a year, she managed to grab the media’s attention as she became the first woman ever to work with a NASCAR pit crew. Her ability to change two 60 pound tires in just 12 seconds impressed many. However, she is no longer at NASCAR and today she is a fitness celebrity with more than half a million followers on Instagram. She is especially known for her Cross Fit abilities. That’s one strong woman!
Angela Ruch and her twin sister Amber became the first twins to race in one of NASCAR’s top three series. The two are nieces of Derrike Cope, also a race car driver and winner of Daytona 500. Angela currently competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a Chevrolet Camaro. She has had many successes on the track including first place at the Lucas Oil Can-Am 150 as well as at the Tri-cities Gold Cup.
Whoever says women can’t fix cars obviously hasn’t met Ashley Parlett. Parlett, only 33 years old, is a professional mechanic for one of NASCAR’s top teams. But that’s not all- in the past, she was a stunt and sprint car driver herself. She knew as early as 13 years old that she wanted to be a race car driver. However, at age 21 she discovered her true passion- race car mechanics and has been pursuing it ever since. Recently she got engaged to car chief Ron Malec. Congrats!
This list wouldn’t be complete without wives of NASCAR drivers. Ashley Busch is the wife of Thomas Busch, a NASCAR driver currently competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The two met through Ashley’s sister in 2014, and it wasn’t long before they got engaged. Ashley is a professional polo player, model, and businesswoman. What a multi-talent!
Interior design and NASCAR? Seems like an unnatural pairing. But it works for Shawna Robinson. Robinson began her successful racing career back in ’83 and since then has managed to participate in the NASCAR Cup Series and all three of NASCAR’s touring series. In between races, Robinson would get in touch with her creative side and design homes. In 2005, after more than twenty years of racing, she decided to retire and shift her focus to interior design. Talk about multi-talented!
Candace Muzny was surrounded by cars when she was as young as three weeks old. As she continued to grow, her path became clear: she wanted to be a race car driver. In one interview in the Bleacher Report, she described this passion, “I put my dreams deep in my heart until I got older and wanted to pursue it to see where it would take me. I wanted this more than anything ever before.” That’s the kind of motivation that leads to success!
Kelly Sutton began racing karts when she was just ten years old. However, at the age of sixteen, she battled multiple sclerosis and had to put her career on hold. Yet her inner drive never failed her, and in 1992 she returned to action by participating in the Old Dominion Speedway. During the following years competing in the series, she competed in various races and was even titled as the Most Popular Driver. Being a NASCAR driver while battling multiple sclerosis is not an easy thing to do. Respect!
Jessica Brunelli knew she wanted to race cars since she was a little girl. When she was eight years old, she watched her first race and immediately knew she belonged there. As soon as she got her driver’s license, she began working towards that goal. In 2009, she was titled as the youngest driver in the NASCAR Modified Series and the youngest member of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. What a go-getter!
Tina Gordon began racing with her husband Gary’s stock car in the mid-’90s at the “Green Valley Speedway.” Later on, she started racing full time, and in 1999 she joined NASCAR’s All-Pro Series. Following a successful career with numerous competitions, she decided to retire in 2005. Nowadays she is dealing with a different travel method: horseback riding. She opened “Tina’s Dream Ranch” which helps kids with special needs through horseback riding: almost like NASCAR but a bit slower…
Mackenzie Ruston Hemric
With a dirt bike racing father and a dirt track racing step-grandfather, it is no wonder that competition is something deeply rooted in Mackenzie. In high school, she was a volleyball, soccer and basketball player. However, that was just the beginning for her. She later became a professional stock car racer. In 2013, she became the first woman to join the “NASCAR Next” program, and later she became a member of NASCAR’s “Drive for Diversity.” Recently, she married NASCAR driver Daniel Hemric.
Before the age of nine, Maryeve Dufault already broke both her arms while racing. But nothing can stop this French Canadian, and as she grew up, she became a tough race car driver at NASCAR. She has raced in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and Nationwide series. However, Dufault not only races but also models. Back in 2000, she won the Miss Hawaiian Tropic International beauty pageant.
If you have ever visited a “Smithsonian” museum, you might have come across Janet Guthrie’s race suit and helmet. Guthrie, a retired NASCAR driver, was one of the first to be elected for the “International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.” She is the first female race car driver to participate in both Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. Although she actually began her career life as an aerospace engineer, she chose to be a NASCAR driver instead. It seems it was the right choice for her: her highest finish is considered one of the best female scores at a top-tier NASCAR competition (tied with Danica Patrick).
Diane Teel has a love for anything with wheels. At the time she began her career as a race car driver, she was also a school bus driver! She made history in 1982 by being the first woman driver to compete in the Nationwide Series. She ended up competing in eleven series, making it to two top-tens. However, in 1986 she retired from racing and continued her initial job as a school bus driver. With a former NASCAR driver in charge of the school bus, we bet the students are never late to school.
Erin Crocker was athletic both in high school and college. She played tennis, soccer, and varsity lacrosse. Later on, she decided to enter the world of motorsports. Crocker has participated in 39 NASCAR National Series. Today she is married to her former boss Ray Evernham. In the past, Evernham owned the team “Evernham Motorsports” and was an analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage.
Ever wondered who was the first NASCAR couple? It was Patty Moise and Elton Sawyer. The two met through NASCAR after sharing a ride to a race in 1990 and have been together ever since. Moise’s racing career lasted fifteen years. However, while she was able to prove herself as a woman driver, she struggled to get lasting sponsorship and ended up retiring.
Ethel Flock Mobley
Ethel Flock Mobley was tied for the second woman driver in NASCAR. Her whole family was passionate about the motorsport. Her three brothers: Bob, Fonty, and Tim are known as NASCAR pioneers (the Flock brothers). In 1949, Ethel raced against them. The race is considered the first NASCAR event to include both a brother and sister and the only event to include four siblings. Another fun fact- she was supposedly named after the gasoline her father used in his car.
Reyes is a Mexican stock car racing driver. She began her career in 1991 when she was only 14 years old. At the time, she participated in the regional championship and was the only female driver out of the 35 drivers. She finished in the Top 5. In 2005 she continued making history by being the first Latin American woman to compete in the NASCAR Bush Series. When she’s not busy racing cars, she can be found giving inspirational speeches.
At 19, Chrissy Wallace was already making history by being the first female driver to win at the Hickory Motor Speedway. Her father is NASCAR driver Mike Wallace and in 2011, she became the first woman to win an American Speed Association. In 1990, her father won the championship at the same track. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
Danica Patrick has been titled as a pioneer for women in motorsports. So far she is the only woman to win in an IndyCar Series race. She is also the second woman, since Shawna Robinson in 1994, to secure a pole position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. While she has publicly stated in 2017 that she plans to stop racing, she is currently still competing.
Amber Balcaen is a third-generation race car driver from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She is the first Canadian woman to win a sanctioned NASCAR race in the USA. She was also titled the rookie of the year in the Whelen All-American Series. Balcaean is also a business graduate from Red River College and has a high understanding of marketing- a skill that surely helps her when trying to get sponsors.
Amber is Angela’s twin sister. She too has had much success on the track. In one interview on “Herhighway” the twins were asked what it’s like to be women in the auto industry; “Five years ago we would say it was very difficult to break into the auto industry, but now it’s more inviting then it’s ever been NASCAR needs females in the sport.” That’s inspiring!
Similarly to many other successful NASCAR drivers, Bumbera started racing karts when she was just eight years old. In an interview on “Pivot Point”, she described how it all began: “I went to the race track and saw them race. I was sitting in the stands thinking, ‘this is pretty cool’ and my dad said, ‘you don’t want to do this, this is no fun, you might as well go oval track racing. You can go much faster on an oval track.’ As soon as he said ‘faster,’ I was all in.” Since then she has had over 16 wins and became the first woman to win a late model race in Texas. Amazing!
Johanna Robbins started racing at NASCAR in 2009. One of her great achievements is winning the pole position at the Snowball Derby. Her and her husband, Hunter Robins, share the same passion; he is a motorsports engineer and track driver. Recently some funding issues have put her NASCAR career on hold but hopefully, it won’t be long before she returns to the track!
Duno is a Venezuelan model turned NASCAR driver and thus has attracted much attention. Besides these skills she also has a master’s degree in organizational development, marine biology, naval architecture, and maritime business. At some point, she has worked as a naval engineer. And if that’s not enough, she also broke a record and achieved the top finish for a female driver in the 24 hours of Daytona. It seems you can have it all!
Mackena Bell is the only female to graduate from NASCAR’S Drive for Diversity program. Not many women complete the Nationwide Series yet Mackena Bell is one of them. During the Drive for Diversity program, she managed to complete six races. However, a few years ago she crashed in two races and since then hasn’t returned to the series.
Paige Decker loves extreme sports. She comes from a family of snowmobile enthusiasts, so as a kid, she would race snowmobiles. Today she is a well known NASCAR driver. In 2014, she was titled as NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity driver. Not only is she a top NASCAR driver, but she also holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Sherry Pollex is the girlfriend of NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. Not long ago, she found out she has cancer. However, through her adversity, she is able to help others in need as well. She has been working to raise money for other cancer patients and serve as a source of strength for others. Recently, she has announced that she underwent her final chemo treatment and is on the road to recovery.
Hanna Zellers is only 21 years old but already both a model and NASCAR driver. When she was a kid, she would always watch racing on television. She has had much luck in her NASCAR career. For example, only between 2010 and 2012 she achieved 20 wins! Zellers is also successful in her modeling career and has done some beautiful photoshoots. She has almost 40,000 followers on Instagram and a net worth of about $400 thousand!
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Jennifer Jo Cobb is definitely a pro when it comes to NASCAR- she has been racing for almost 30 years now. Not only is she a racecar driver but she is also a team owner. One reason for her NASCAR obsession may be that her father, Joe Cobb, is a NASCAR driver himself. In 2015, she crashed due to cell phone usage during a practice and was fined $5,000. However, that didn’t stop her and today she competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck and the Nationwide Series. To top it all off, she is also a public speaker in her free time.