When you think Miss Sprint Cup, what is your first thought? "Trophy girl", or "Just a pretty face in the garage?" Hopefully after reading this interview with country girl, turned Miss Sprint Cup, Paige Duke your view of that illustrious position will change.
What is the best piece of advice you have received in your lifetime?
Paige Duke: To treat everyone the way I want to be treated, don’t get easily angered or offended, and to look inside yourself for happiness!
How did you get into NASCAR? How did you decide that was the sport for you?
PD: I started working as a Skoal girl and loved traveling to the different tracks and meeting so many great people. I found out about the job opening for Miss Sprint Cup and it just seemed perfect. NASCAR has the southern roots and I’m a southern girl so we just fit well together.
Who was the most influential person in your life to help you become what you are today?
PD: My Papa. He has always been so proud of me no matter what I chose to do! He wears his Sprint Cup Victory Lane hat I brought him everyday and it means so much to me to make him proud. He NEVER lets me frown.
How do you feel about NASCAR in general, what is the best aspect of it to you?
PD: Since I got this job I found there is so much more to NASCAR than I ever thought. It’s such a fun time for all the fans. So laid back and exciting. I never knew how much engineering and physics were involved in the sport and that makes it even cooler for me. I love learning about how the cars are built and how gas, fuel, and rubber come together for speed. It’s amazing how drivers usually walk away from wrecking at 200 mph. I love the southern outlaw roots of the sport and I’m proud to be a part of it.
How long do you get to stay Miss Sprint Cup?
PD: My contract is for a year. I can reapply so I sure hope I’m back again!
How were you chosen to be the Sprint Cup Girl over everyone else?
PD: I wonder this question myself. My degree was in animal science and I had no training with being on camera or radio or in front of large crowds. I believe my outgoing and friendly personality and southern accent won them over.
How much do you keep up with the business part of NASCAR, as in Silly Season, mergers, etc.?
PD: My knowledge of the sport grows everyday at this job. Until becoming Miss Sprint Cup I had no idea the instrumental part Sprint plays as a sponsor. With every track, shop and appearance I attend I learn new things.
How do you believe the vibe is different among the fans towards you than to the drivers or other people involved in NASCAR?
PD: I believe fans are starting to see how big of a role we play in the sport. We hear from so many fans about how friendly we all were and how nice it is to see us always smiling so I hope we make some of their days better when they see us!
How would you feel about a woman racing in NASCAR full time?
PD: Oh I think it would be awesome. If I could do it I would. Maybe one day. I think it’s amazing to see females making a name for themselves in the sport and if someone would teach me I would love to. I like an adrenaline rush!
What are some of the main things you would like to accomplish while in the position you are today?
PD: To meet as many people as I can. I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much. I used to get nervous on camera and radio and the nerves still get to me sometimes but I’m so proud of doing things I never thought I’d be able to do!
How many of the Sprint Cup tracks had you visited prior to being Miss Sprint Cup?
PD: Pretty much all of the South Eastern tracks. I traveled to many of them as a Skoal girl.
How does the environment at the track differ from the atmosphere portrayed on television?
PD: I fell in love with the sport by going to a race with my Dad when I was little, not by watching it on television. It’s so exciting in person. All the sounds, smells and thousands of other fans surrounding you make it one of the most exciting atmospheres.
Would you have enjoyed being the “Trophy Girl” back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s more than now? How are your feelings towards those women?
PD: I love seeing old pictures of beauty queens in Victory Lane with the winning driver. They had a lot of fun with their job just as I do and if I lived back then I would loved to have been a part of that. Our job is much more than a trophy girl now though. That just happens to be the most visible part of our job to the viewers at home. I have learned to become a skilled individual with reporting, broadcasting and promotional experience through this experience.
Obviously, you have Sprint as a sponsor, but as the drivers do, do you have any other companies that sponsor your efforts at the track?
PD: Sprint is our sole sponsor. We may go to other companies suites or trackside parties but we are there as Miss Sprint Cup. They are a wonderful company to work for and I never knew how much I was missing out on during the races by not using the Sprint Fan View or NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile. This technology is awesome and has helped me understand and enjoy the sport that much more. I think we are a perfect sponsor for NASCAR.
Who do you believe are some of the nicest people in the garage?
PD: Everyone has been so nice and welcoming to me. I was worried I may feel out of place at first but everyone was awesome. The cooks offer me food, crew guys don’t hesitate to let me try to check tire wear or air pressure (I like getting my hands dirty) and I’m so thankful. Also the drivers always smile and say hello.
*Bonus Question: Have you ever actually rode, or drove a NASCAR racecar around the track?
PD: Not yet!!! I hope we get to do a ride-along at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ... I CAN’T WAIT!!!
Photo Credit: Sprint