Think about being a professional NASCAR driver at a time where women were expected to just be stay at home moms. For Sara Christian, this was not an option. She spent ages working hard to become the world’s first female NASCAR driver. In 1949, she was the first female NASCAR driver who competed for six out of eight events during her first and only full year.
Christian received the United States Drivers Association Woman Driver of the Year award. By 1949, she drove her Ford at the Charlotte Speedway and finished at 13th place. She raced for a total of two years, starting in 1949 and ending her racing career in 1950. Later in 2004, Sara Christian was inducted into the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame.
Paige Decker - Rookie of The Year
Sister of Claire Decker, Paige, also joined NASCAR at about the same time. Decker was named as a NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver in 2014. Previously she became the first woman and rookie to win the TUNDRA Super Late Model Tour at the Golden Sands Speedway event. Although she did a bit better than her sister at the whole NASCAR experience, her time in the sport was also brief and ended in the same year as well.
The two sisters were joined by their cousin, Natalie Decker, who also succeeded to get into the NASCAR races through their Drive for Diversity program. unfortunately for Paige, Natalie was the strongest one of the three family members and is racing to this day.
Erin Crocker - Best Newcomer
Erin Crocker was on the race tracks at just 7 years old and was already winning Mini Sports competitions by the time she hit her teens. When Crocker transitioned into professional racing, her first race was the World of Outlaws. She was soon noticed after winning five races. These victories earned a National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Outstanding Newcomer Award.
In 2006, she began racing full-time for NASCAR. Crocker's record includes over 39 races in both stock car and truck races. Crocker is currently married to former auto racing crew chief Ray Evernham, who was her ex-boss and team owner. She has since retired from racing and became a broadcaster for SPEED in 2008.
Claire Decker - Drive for Diversity Champ
Once again, the Decker family. An interesting thing about them, they are a family of snowmobile racers. However, the champion, like her sister, headed straight into the prestigious NASCAR sport through its Drive for Diversity program. The program's purpose is to draw females and other minorities to compete as drivers, owners, sponsors, and crew members in NASCAR, an organization that is largely dominated today by men.
Decker has participated in two significant NASCAR events throughout her career. These include the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. In 2016 she finished in the 105th position during her only year in the sport. She soon stopped attending after her achievements, feeling that she wasn't where she wanted to be.
Danica Patrick - IndyCar Series’ Rookie of the Year
Not many success stories quite compare to that of NASCAR legend, Danica Patrick. She is the most triumphant woman in the history of American open-wheel racing and is the only woman to ever win an IndyCar Series race. Patrick was born in 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin to a working-class family, and displayed curiosity about the unique sport since age ten.
In 1998, she made a remarkably brave move and left high school to pursue a NASCAR career. By 2005, she was named the IndyCar Series’ “Rookie of the Year.” Just five years later, Danica Patrick already began racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. While she officially retired last year, she has left behind her a legacy that will inspire many women for years to come.