Racing has been a male-dominated sport since its early development, and the NASCAR is no different. However, in recent years, women have been surfacing on the radar of the competition. Although sturdy and challenging as they often face insurmountable odds that hinder their achievements, a few have fought against the daunting odds to establish their presence.
Below is the list of 10 best female NASCAR drivers of all time to have achieved the seeming inconceivable.
The Best Female NASCAR Drivers
10. Jennifer Jo Cobb
Cobb’s mark in NASCAR as a female driver is no doubt laudable. Her achievements in the NASCAR scene don’t stop at her being one of the best female drivers but also few female team owners. She had started racing in 1991 in the company of her father, Joe Cobb, but made her NASCAR debut in 2004.
2008 saw Cob placed 35th spot in the Camping World Truck Series event and finished in the 26th spot. She is the only female NASCAR driver to have recorded the highest points in any major NASCAR series. In 2011, she became the highest finishing female in the Truck Series with a sixth-place finish. Although she was one controversial driver, having entangled herself in numerous situations warranting penalty for nonchalant drives, she is no doubt one of the top female drivers to have competed in NASCAR.
9. Julia Landauer
Her potential was evident at an early age, and soon she was discovered by Bill McNally Racing Team. 2016 saw her emerged winner of the All-American Series-sanctioned track championship, thus becoming the first woman to achieve the feat.
Julia Landauer won the 2016 Driver Achievement Award and received invite to a NASCAR Next Program, where she happened to be the only female driver of 16 drivers selected for the program. She is currently an active race driver in NASCAR. The 28-years-old looks to break more barriers and achieve more in her career.
8. Sara Christian
Sara was the very first woman to have racing endeavors in NASCAR. She became the first female to compete in a NASCAR official event in 1949. Having a taste of the first race, Sara competed in five more competitions in 1949, finishing sixth and fifth in two of those five races. She competed in one more race to bring the total number of tracks she competed to seven.
Although her career was short, it served as the breaking point and unlocked female potentials for women in NASCAR. Her NASCAR endeavors paved the way for the female gender in NASCAR. Sara Christian’s fifth-place finish in 1949 tops among the best finishes by a female race driver at a professional level.
7. Ethel Flock Mobley
Ethel was among the early female race drivers in the NASCAR scene. She competed in over 100 NASCAR racing events. She was a rival and tied the second female to fellow race driver Louise Smith in 1949. A particular race in Georgia saw her become the first woman to compete against men in a racing event in the state of Georgia.
She had raced against 57 male drivers and emerged 8th. In the final years of her career, Ethel was a prolific name in the Southern United States to reckon with in the world of race drivers.
6. Louise Smith
Louise Smith’s rivalry with Ethel in NASCAR racing was positive as it drew attention to her racing profile and NASCAR as a whole. She was nicknamed “The First Lady of Racing.” She delves into the racing scene, firstly as a spectator before transforming into a competitive race driver.
Smith recorded a total of 38 wins in various NASCAR formats she participated in, including late models, Midgets, and Sportsman. After retiring from racing, she still was active in the sport via been a race car owner. She was the first female racer to be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in recognition of her incredible plight in racing during her career.
5. Tammy Jo Kirk
Kirk was the first woman to compete in the NASCAR Truck Series back in the late 1990s. Her early endeavors in racing was a significant contribution to the development that saw more female competitors in the modern racing track. She re-entered NASCAR racing for the second time in 2003. Although several of Kirk’s success in NASCAR racing happened in the lower levels, she didn’t fail to stamp her presence at the top level. She made waves as a top NASCAR driver.
4. Shawna Robinson
Robinson delved into racing at an early age. She started her career in semi-tractor completions and impressed with 30 victories. Robinson moved up to the Truck Series, and in 1984, won the GATR Truck Series Championship’s Rookie of the Year. In 1988 Charlotte/Daytona Dash Series, she recorded a victory in the NASCAR Touring Series, thus becoming the first female to win in a top-level NASCAR sanctioned race. Robinson won the ‘Most Popular Driver’ award that year.
1991 saw Shawna Robinson competing in the Busch Series, now known as the Xfinity Series. Her competing in the Busch Series saw her land herself a pole position in the Series. The following year she took a break off competitive racing until 2001 before storming back the scene again. Robinson retired a second and final time in 2005 after a fulfilled and achieved career.
3. Patty Moise
Moise had started racing at the tender age of 16. 1986 saw her debut her first race in NASCAR with the Busch Series. She was the first woman to lead a Bush Series. After forming her team, Moise continued competing in several cup races, including the prestigious Daytona 500. After the sale of her team, she began racing under Mike Laughlin and recorded 24 starts.
Throughout her career, Moise competed in 133 Busch series and 5 Winston Cup races. She competed in one of the longest stint race a woman ever did in the NASCAR scene. However, Moise didn’t record any significant win in her career, her contribution to NASCAR sum up to her been among the greatest female race driver.
2. Janet Guthrie
When the subject about prolific female race drivers in the NASCAR scene comes up, Danica Patrick usually comes into mind. However, long before Danica came into the picture, there was Janet.
One wouldn’t be wrong to assume Danica’s success, and generally, female success in modern NASCAR racing stems from the barriers and race battles of Janet. She competed in NASCAR at a time when gender class distinction in racing never existed. She was the first woman ever to dare and eventually raced in a NASCAR-sanctioned superspeedway race. Guthrie finished 15th in her first race.
Not much an impressive result, however, comparing the class of her fellow competitors in her first race, which included seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, it quite a fair result.
Guthrie followed up her first race competing in the 1977 Daytona 500, where she finished 12th and was named ‘Rookie of the Race’ for her stellar performance. Sadly her career came to an early end in the late 1970s as she was unable to secure sponsorship to aid her racing endeavors further. Still, her reign in her active years of racing is worthy enough to place her second among the greatest female NASCAR drivers of all time.
1. Danica Patrick
For every aspiring female racer, Danica Patrick is the heroine of their dreams. She is undoubtedly the most successful female driver in the history of NASCAR as well as Indycar.
Patrick announced her presence to the racing world with her impressive performance at the 2005 Indy 500 with 19 laps lead and the fourth position. Her performance in that race brought her to the limelight. Ever since she had been under the subject of a high profile view in racing competitions.
The following seven seasons, she enjoyed both downside and rising moments in her career, filled with victories and loss. However, her winning prowess was still a part of her. At the Japan Indy 300 in 2008, she recorded the first and only win by a woman in Indycar. She is one of only two women to have competed in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.
In 2012 she was full-time active in NASCAR racing and made history after becoming the first woman to win the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500. She achieved seven career top-ten finishes. Of recent, a lot of injuries and accidents marred her form on the track. However, she remains the most successful and best female NASCAR driver of all time.
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