Milka Duno is proof of hard work over adversity. She was originally born in Venezuela and became an academic after arriving in the United States. She learned Marine Biology, Naval Architecture, Organizational Development, and Maritime Business, and went on to receive a master’s degree in all these!
During her time studying, Milka Duno was also a mildly successful model. This strange mix of professions her a lot of attention. At some point, for some reason, she decided to pursue race car driving and compete in NASCAR. She currently holds the record for the highest finish by a female driver in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Duno also wrote a Latin-English kid’s book titled “Go, Milka, Go!,” which won the Best Young Adult Sports/Recreation Book award in 2009. Wow!
Shawna Robinson - Most Popular Driver
In 1988, Shawna Robinson didn’t just break the glass ceiling, she smashed down the entire house. Robinson was the first female to ever win a NASCAR Touring Series tournament. The win immediately launched her into celebrity status. The talented, award-winning motorist debuted as a NASCAR driver in 1988 and quickly showed promise with her unbelievable performance.
These victories got her awarded the 1988’s “Most Popular Driver” and “Rookie of the Year” awards. She then went up to the Busch Series. Unfortunately, there she didn't perform as well she hoped where. That proved to be indicative of her coming races as over time she lost some of her momenta. Instead, she began shifting her attention toward raising a family.
Robin McCall - Winston Cup Series
Robin McCall, like many, she was primed to become an outstanding racing driver since she was a kid. She began by competing in small races and swiftly built a reputation for herself as a top tier racer. By 1982, she was already in NASCAR and won a shot at competing in the Winston Cup Series, making her the youngest woman to ever qualify for the competition.
In 1985, Robin McCall tied the knot with a fellow racing driver, Wally Dallenbach Jr. They ended up having three children together. Ultimately, raising a family is what led led McCall to slowly, but surely leave racing. McCall has since been working as a driving instructor for auto manufacturers in driving events. The retired NASCAR driver also co-authored a book titled Portrait of NASCAR.
Mackena Bell - Xfinity Series Contender
Mackena Bell was also a lucky graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program even though she only had one official NASCAR race. She too started driving go-karts as a small child, moving up to Legend cars at age fourteen, and then officially racing vehicles by age eighteen. In 2010, she raced in six NASCAR races during their Xfinity Series but failed to finish with a proper score.
Four years later, Bell crashed her car during two races. She only had one top-ten finish in all of her career. Naturally, she didn't return to NASCAR after that and instead moved to race for Rick Ware Racing at the Phoenix International Raceway where she placed 29th. That was her last official race as of November 2014.
Tammy Jo Kirk - All-American Challenge Series Contender
Tammy Jo Kirk is not only a well-renowned and accomplished NASCAR driver, but she is also a major motorcycle enthusiast. She began racing her wheels at the young age of nine and fell in love with the game. Despite being very talented, Kirk suffered a great deal of sexism and wasn’t permitted to race in the male-dominated motorcycle competitions.
The frustrated race driver tried her hand at car racing and found a lot more success. Tammy Jo Kirk was immediately picked up by NASCAR, and in 1991 she joined the All-American Challenge Series. Just three years later, she was already crowned as the world’s most popular driver. The talented NASCAR competitor continued on the tracks until 2003 when she decided to hang her helmet.