Women of Craftsman Truck Series Feel Like 'One of the Guys'
Thursday, March 4, 2004
Being one of two women competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Tina Gordon usually knows what question is coming when a reporter approaches: Are you treated any differently because you¿re a woman?
Gordon laughs and says emphatically that no, she doesn¿t get treated any differently. No sugar in the fuel tank, no slashed tires.
As if to prove her point, fellow competitor David Starr approaches at that moment, engulfing Gordon in a big bear hug.
¿It¿s like that with all of the guys,¿ Gordon said. ¿I don¿t know how many times David has taken me out on track to show me the line before practice starts. Or how many times Robert Pressley has come over, taken time out of practice, to help me. All of them have been great to me.¿
Gordon and Kelly ¿Girl¿ Sutton are both competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year, the first time that any NASCAR touring series has had two women running a full-time schedule.
It¿s a major milestone, but both women shrug off the significance. They want to be known as racers, not women who race.
¿All my life I¿ve been working around men, whether it be working in a garage or working for the county driving dump trucks and shoveling asphalt,¿ said Sutton. ¿This is my world, one filled with guys. And when I put my helmet on, I¿m just like everyone else.¿
Even if being a woman in the male-dominated world of racing could be considered a challenge, both Gordon and Sutton are up to the task. Especially for Sutton, this is not the first challenge she¿s faced.
Seven years ago, Sutton was in a wheelchair.
Sutton was diagnosed 13 years ago with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. She began taking Copaxone via daily injections, which has helped her manage her disease and put her back in the driver¿s seat.
¿I¿m lucky, because Copaxone helped me become more active, and then they made my dreams come true by sponsoring my racing career,¿ Sutton said. ¿But I was never out of the running. I¿m a pretty determined person, and I¿ve always liked a challenge.¿
That determination will come in handy this season, as Sutton and Gordon attempt to break down even more barriers by trying to become the first woman to win in a national NASCAR touring series.
Their next stop will be March 13 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200. Great seats still remain for the entire March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend. Contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, or call Ticketmaster, to order yours today.