Danica Patrick seems to have started a trend.
In ARCA pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway (Daytona, Florida), 10 women showed up to shake down their cars. In Friday's qualifying for the Saturday, February 6th ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, six of those women, including Patrick, made the field.
Joining Patrick, who qualified 12th in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports entry, are Daytona Beach native and ARCA regular Alli Owens (20th), green-living advocate and Indy Lights driver Leilani Munter (25th), Patrick's IndyCar rival Milka Duno (32nd), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year candidate Jennifer Jo Cobb (35th), and Jill George (41st), the first woman to enter the Knoxville Late Model Nationals and two-time Iowa Golden Gloves boxing champ.
These other five women come to the track with impressive racing resumes, in spite of their relative obscurity compared to media darling Patrick. Munter and Duno have had the most notable racing careers, with Munter's beginning in 2001 in the Allison Legacy Series and Duno's career starting in her native Venezuela in 1996. Munter was named one of Sports Illustrated's top ten female race car drivers in the world; Duno is the highest-placing female in the history of the 24 Hours of Daytona (her team finished 2nd in 2007).
We'll see what the women can do today during the race, which starts the 2010 racing season at Daytona.