Even though there currently isn't a female driver in NASCAR's Sprint Cup, 40 percent of the fans happen to be women.
With that being said, for my first story for The Foxes in the Henhouse I wanted to pay tribute to the women of NASCAR most of us haven't even heard of, but have paved the way for drivers like Danica Patrick and Chrissy Wallace.
Sara Christian became the first woman to ever compete in a NASCAR race when she competed in six of the eight races held in 1949. She holds two top tens and the only fifth place finish by a female driver in stock car racing. Christian competed in her No. 71 '49 Ford or Oldsmobile for her husband, Frank, or Ruby Flock. The Atlanta native made history with Louise Smith and Ethel Smith when they were the first to compete in a NASCAR field of more than one female.
Christian retired after competing in the 1950 race at Hamburg Speedway in New York, where she finished 14th. In 2004, she was inducted into the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame.
Born in 1938, Janet Guthrie didn't aspire to be a famous racecar driver during her childhood. Instead, she got her Bachelor's in Physics and attempted to become an astronaut, but was rejected by NASA for not having a Ph.D.
Building and maintaining her own cars, Guthrie, in 1978, became the first woman to qualify for and compete in the Indianapolis 500; she also won top rookie honors in the Daytona 500 that same year. Guthrie finished ninth at Indy. She competed in 33 NASCAR races, collecting two top ten finishes. She also has two wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring under her belt.
In 2005, she wrote her autobiography, "Janet Guthrie: A Life at Full Throttle"
Georgia native Louise Smith raced from 1949 until her retirement in 1956, competing in everything from late models to modifieds. Rather than her spectacular finishes, Smith was known for her fiery crashes. Racing in Hillsborough, she needed 48 stitches and several pins in her knees in a wreck that nearly claimed her life.
Smith was an active voice in NASCAR when she resurgence in 1972 until her death three years ago. She was the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999.
A name all of us should recognize; Shawna Robinson began her NASCAR career in the then Busch Series in 1991. In a seven year career that spanned until 2005, Robinson won one pole and one top ten. Her Cup career began in 2001, when she drove for Michael Kranefuss at Michigan. She failed to qualify for three other events, including the inaugral race at Chicagoland.
Her last Cup start came at Daytona in 2007, where she finished 40th after a wreck. Currently without a ride, Robinson lives in North Carolina with her son and daughter.
Racing the ARCA Re/Max and the then Busch Series, Kansas City native Jennifer Jo Cobb began her racing career in 1991, inspired by the successful career of her father, Jim. She has only competed in five NASCAR events, her first coming in a Keith Coleman ride at Homestead in 2004. She attempts her hometown race of Kansas Speedway every year, and has a best finish of 30th.
To fund her racing career, Cobb created DriverBoutique.com, an all female racing clothing line in 2006. She has her Associate's degree in journalism and is currently working on her broadcasting degree.
A former Quarter Midget of America's Female Driver of the Year, 27-year-old Erin Crocker made a name for herself driving for Evernham Motorsports beginning in 2005, after she left Ford. She's competed in the NASCAR (then) Busch Series and (then) Craftsman Truck Series, failing to collect a win, top five or top ten. She left Evernham in 2008, and did play by play for SPEED Channel.
If you don't recognize this young star's last name, I'm immediately revoking your NASCAR fan card; nineteen year old Chrissy Wallace is surrounded by driving talent, with her father Mike and uncles Kenny and two time Winston Cup champion Rusty Wallace.
Wallace became the first female to ever win at North Carolina's famed Hickory Motor Speedway, first to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a Bandalero, first to win at Friendship Speedway in Elkin, NC and made her Craftsman, now Camping World, Truck Series start at Martinsville, where she finished 18th. Wallace has an average finish in the Truck Series of 24th.
On her website, she lists her goal as to "be a successful professional race car driver in the NASCAR circuit and represent the sport well along with diversity."
Thanks to Racing Reference, LLOAR, Sports by the Numbers: NASCAR Locker, American Stock Heroes, CobbRacingTeam.com, JanetGuthrie.com, ChrissyWallace.com, Racing Reference, NASCAR, ErinCrocker.org and ShawnaRobinson.info for the information and stats used in this slideshow.