Celebrating Women

As we continue through the month of March, I encourage you all to take some time out of your day and thank all of the women in your lives. For those of you who don’t know, March marks Women’s History Month on the calendar here in the United States. What originally began as a week-long honor back in 1981 has now become a month long celebration for women and all the great things that they do in our lives.

When it comes to sports, women have been making a marvelous impact for years as athletes, coaches and executives. These women have continued to redefine roles and inspire future generations of young women to get involved in sports and eventually become the next wave of trailblazers in the industry.

The list of female pioneers in sports goes on and on and includes some of the best athletes and executives that their sport has ever seen – men or women. Kim Ng, the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball, is the highest ranking woman in Major League Baseball and became the first woman to interview for a MLB General Manager position back in 2005.

Becky Hammon is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, becoming the National Basketball Association’s first ever full-time female coach. In 2015, she served as the head coach for the Spurs’ summer league team, leading

them to a title. Of course there’s also Serena Williams, who has etched her name amongst the greatest tennis players ever, winning 23 Grand Slam singles titles and ranking No. 1 in the world on eight separate occasions in her storied career.

Many of these powerful women have become an inspiration for others as they thrived in their respective roles. In the motorsports world, Janet Guthrie served as a trailblazer for future generations of women. In 1977, Guthrie became the first woman to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the DAYTONA 500. Her career in NASCAR consisted of a sixth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway, which is tied with Danica Patrick for the highest finish for a female in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In 2006, Guthrie was inducted International Motorsports Hall of Fame for her groundbreaking achievements in auto racing.

Guthrie was a pioneer for all women who have worked in the NASCAR industry, and in recognizing March as Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at other women who have made remarkable strides in NASCAR.

The highest ranking female figure in NASCAR today is the granddaughter of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., Lesa Kennedy. Kennedy serves as Chief Executive Officer for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), which is a motorsports company that not only owns Homestead-Miami Speedway, but also 11 other tracks across the country. On multiple occasions, Kennedy has been named “The Most Powerful Woman in Sports” by Forbes Magazine because of her prominent role in NASCAR and ISC.

From a team standpoint, Kelly Earnhardt Miller has made an impact as an owner. The daughter of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and sister of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Earnhardt Miller serves as the Vice President and co-owner of NASCAR Xfinity Series team JR Motorsports. Earnhardt Miller has helped lead the organization to three drivers’ championships right here at Homestead-Miami Speedway – Chase Elliott (2014), William Byron (2017) and Tyler Reddick (2018).

Alba Colon has been a trailblazer in NASCAR for years, first for the sport’s manufacturers and now as a part of Hendrick Motorsports. After working for Chevrolet as a program manager for 17 years, Hendrick named Colon the director of the organization’s competition systems. Colon has long been in an influential figure in NASCAR and in 2017 was recognized by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for her contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

In addition to the women in executive roles, female NASCAR drivers are also moving up the ranks on the track. Natalie Decker, 21, and Hailie Deegan, 17, are graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program and have recently found success at varying levels of NASCAR. Decker is running a part-time schedule in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for DGR-Crosley this year and scored a 13th place finish at Las Vegas last weekend. Deegan also had success at Las Vegas, winning the K&N Pro Series West race, her second career win in the series. Deegan is the only female drive in K&N history to win a race.

From a pit crew perspective, Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary made history earlier this season as they became the first women to pit a car in the prestigious season-opening DAYTONA 500. Both women work as tire changers for Cody Ware’s Chevrolet and made their debut in a Cup race in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway last July.

As NASCAR continues to progress, it’s great to see so many women not only involved in the sport, but making a significant impact in so many facets of the industry. Due to the efforts and inspirational works of women currently entrenched in motorsports, future generations will see even more women pursue their goals in the sports world, and I can’t wait to see who will be involved in the industry for years to come.

NASCAR ACTION THIS WEEKEND

Sunday, March 10 at 3:30 PM (ET)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway

Tune In: FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

Saturday, March 9 at 4:00 PM (ET)

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at ISM Raceway

Tune In: FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is off this week and will return Saturday, March 23 at Martinsville Speedway.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Mar. 8 Fast Lane Friday

Mar. 22 Fast Lane Friday

Mar. 30 Performance Driving Group

Mar. 31 Florida Track Days

Apr. 5 Fast Lane Friday

Apr. 6-7 Chin Motor-sports Car Club

Apr. 20-21 Sports Car Club of America

Apr. 27-28 Championship Cup Series

2019 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Nov. 15

Ford EcoBoost 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship Race

Nov. 16

Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 17

Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy Series Championship