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May 29, 2008

Women in Motorsports Blog Carnival - May 29th

Guthrie1 Danica might be getting the most attention as a woman in auto racing, but Janet Guthrie is the true pioneer of the sport. 

"I was shocked at the level of antagonism but most of those had never had the experience of running against a woman and they were sure they weren't going to like it," said Guthrie. "The presumption was that since I was a female I had no driver skill. They soon found out I was a good clean driver and could give them some good competition and so the attitude changed."

Zelda Marilyn Toal joins Zelda Reakes as a co-recipient of the seventh annual Gater Racing News "Outstanding Woman in Racing" award during the 2008 Northeast Modified Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies Sunday, May 25 on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds held in conjunction with the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series event at the adjacent speedway.

This special award was initiated in 2002 to recognize outstanding contributions made by women in auto racing during a customary time of tribute to the legendary male drivers in our sport.

It may seem somewhat strange that a person synonymous with asphalt racing and the Race of Champions Modified title event would be recognized by the Northeast Modified Hall of Fame. Marilyn Toal began her ride with auto racing in 1958 yet as fate would have it she attended her first Race of Champions at Langhorne (Pa.) Int’l Motor Speedway the last year (1964) it ran on dirt.

“My job at Kodak in Rochester (NY) allowed me the opportunity to be involved with a sports boosters club,” Marilyn stated. “Through this club we organized trips to sporting events and made tickets available to members and (promoter) Joe Gerber allowed me to sell tickets for his Race of Champions event. This plan proved to be so successful I became known as the person in Upstate New York to get your RoC tickets from.”

Ktisrn Kristin Bumbera, 20, can see herself on Victory Lane, too. In NASCAR, it's only a matter of time before a female driver becomes a regular on the Sprint Cup circuit, and she's among the leading candidates.

"Danica won a race; that definitely means a whole lot to us as women drivers," said Bumbera, who pilots the No. 00 Chevrolet in the NASCAR late-model division for Golden State Racing at All American Speedway. "I admire her for going out there and proving a girl can do it. It's giving everybody hope, from people like me to 7-year-old girls starting out in karts."

Enders Pro Stock driver Erica Enders has taken control of her racing future by assuming the responsibilities of vice president of marketing of Master Formula Xtreme Polishes, Waxes, Cleaners, and Sealers. The agreement will allow the most successful female Pro Stock racer of all-time to resume her driving career in an Allen Johnson-powered Stratus R/T.

Enders plans to use her unique familiarity with millions of race fans and the business community to bolster the Southern California-based company’s bottom line.

“We are delighted to associate ourselves with a proven professional like Erica,” said Clarence Larkins, CEO and Founder of Master Formula. “After meeting with Erica and her father Gregg, along with their team of business and marketing professionals, we’re confident Enders Racing can help us take our company to the next level very quickly.

“For 20 years we’ve sold our products directly to our consumers. We’ve had some small distributors but nothing to the scale of the Erica and her group have created. Their connections in motorsports, and in the business world in general, will put our great products into the top distribution channels nationwide. It’s very exciting.”

Fusher_2 Because of her accident during the Indy 500, Sarah Fisher said she isn't sure if she will have enough money to race Aug. 9 at Kentucky Speedway.

"It was just a terrible day," she said. "It just wasn't our day. The guys worked so hard this month to put together such a good race car. It was great on the track. We just messed up the start, messed up the parade lap."

She spent the month struggling financially after one of her sponsors, ResQ energy drink, failed to deliver. Fisher and husband/chief mechanic Andy O'Gara put their life savings into starting Sarah Fisher Racing.

Fisher got a primary sponsorship from text4cars .com, a car buying Web site, late last week. She also received assistance from friends and fans from around the world.

"It's just amazing support that the fans have given us," Fisher said. "Between the checks that everybody have sent, I think we cleared nearly $30,000. They were in fact an associate sponsor."

Danica2 Danica Patrick was itching for a fight after being wrecked out of the Indy 500.

Patrick exited her car and strutted down pit lane, looking for Ryan Briscoe - the culprit who had taken her out of the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

"It's probably a better idea that I didn't make it all the way down there anyway," Patrick said. "Because, well, as you guys know, I'm a little emotional.

"If he doesn't come to me within a certain amount of time, rest assured I'll talk to him about it," Patrick said.

Lindapic_noman2_2 by Linda Przygodski
Contributing Editor

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