Behind every successful man.......
I've been working a lot lately, but I can easily do the physical labor of hauling freight around the liquor store warehouse and write an article, or at least flesh it out, in my mind.
NASCAR is a sport of men. Yes, we have had our share of women in the sport, namely Shawna Robinson and Jennifer Jo Cobb. This year, Danica Patrick makes her move to NASCAR permanent, running full time in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, and part time in the Sprint Cup Series for Stewart Haas Racing. She will undoubtedly contend in the series, and may even win a race or two. She IS a talented driver and has learned well in her part time efforts.
The fact is, most women in NASCAR are well known because of their husbands, and their support of them. DeLana has long been criticized for not removing her hat for the National Anthem. The woman is so knowledgeable about the sport and has a job in the pits. She wears a firesuit because she is a part of the team. Her hair is long, so she puts in under her cap to stay out of her eyes. Women wear hats at other sporting events (the Kentucky Derby) and aren't required to remove their hats, so I've never understood why NASCAR fans make such a big deal of it. However, I digress. DeLana is much like Stevie Waltrip was in her time. Stevie had a job in the pits, calculated the fuel mileage on the car. She is the one who encouraged DW to his win in the Daytona 500. She told the team "we KNOW how to lose this race, now let's go win it!". She had calculated that DW had enough fuel to complete the race and din't have to come in for gasoline like the other teams were. DW coasted in, almost on fumes, but he did win the race, and his Victory Lane celebrations are now famous. He would not have been there in 1989 but for his wife.
Anyone who has watched a NASCAR race has also seen Kim Burton, wife of Jeff Burton, on the pit box. She, too, has a job there. Her number one job, though, is cheering on her husband. She becomes extremely emotional when Jeff is heading for a win, and if that win isn't a for sure thing, she becomes even more emotional, often breaking down in tears.
Ryan Newman and his wife, Krissie, met on a blind date, but the love they have for each other is evident every day. Krissie tweets her husband's stats during the race, as do many of the other wives. She also works on the Ryan Newman Foundation, created because of the pair's love of children and animals. Since its inception, the foundation has added other interests to contribute funds to. And she does all this while also being a full time mom, and cheering on her husband.
While she isn't a wife of a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, perhaps one of the most famous faces around is that of Kelley Earnhardt, sister of Dale Jr. She runs his foundation, has a huge role in JR Motorsports, and also has a new wife to LW Miller, and soon to be mom to their son, has uncountable jobs. Her daughter Karsyn Elledge is beginning her career in racing and Kelley ferries Karsyn to and from the track, cheering her on.
Another comment DW made in his biography stuck. I'm not sure it was his own thought, or one he repeated, but it was a very wise one. He said [sic] "when you get married, you'd better be sure she's the right woman". Other noteable drivers can attest to that belief, namely Jeff Gordon. Jeff was married to Brooke Sealey in the '90's, but that marriage seemed doomed. Brooke didn't seem to support Jeff's career, only seeming to want what the spotlight could offer her. Jeff now is happy married to Ingrid Vandenbosch, a successful model before her marriage to the NASCAR Superstar. Although she appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition in 2008, Ingrid seems content to be a wife and mother and support her husband.
Kurt Busch is the most recent NASCAR driver to go through extreme emotional upheaval. His last year with Penske was not a happy one, with Kurt yelling on the microphone more often than not, cursing his crew chief, crew, the car and anything else. Coincidentally, Kurt and his wife, Eva Busch, separated in 2011, and Kurt was seen with Patricia Driscoll after a win during the summer of 2011. Kurt will drive for Phoenix Racing in 2012. Hopefully, both his personal and private life will be more positive in 2012.
Finally, there is Tony Stewart. He remains single, even after dating a number of women. However, his sister, Natalie is a strong supporter of his career, foundations, charitable work and almost anything else the 2011 Cup Champion does.
Yep, as I said above, racing has been a man's sport. However, behind ever successful man stands one incredible woman.