Mothers Day Spotlight: History of Female Drivers at AMS
Danica Patrick will be among the headliners of Labor Day Weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway later this year when she’ll make her first NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series start at AMS.
Although she’ll be the first female driver to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide events during the same weekend here in Hampton, she won’t be the first female to have attacked Atlanta Motor Speedway’s high banks. Patrick will continue on a trail of which has been blazed at AMS by female drivers to have come before her.
So, with Mother's Day coming up, what better time to look at some of the history of female drivers to have raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
Of all the female drivers to have raced at Atlanta, Shawna Robinson claims the most diverse resume, having competing here in ARCA, Nationwide and the Sprint Cup Series. Her lone Sprint Cup start came in 2002.
In fact, when Danica Patrick won the pole position earlier this year at Daytona, she became the first woman to do so in the Nationwide Series since Robinson did so in March of 1994 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Robinson’s time at the front of the field was short-lived that day, being caught up in an accident on the first lap with Mike Wallace and finishing 36th. Robinson has five Nationwide Series starts at Atlanta, the most recent being in 2005 and her best finish being 17th in 1995.
Within the ARCA Series, Robinson saw her greatest success at Atlanta. In November of 2000, she started sixth and put herself in contention to win, leading four times for a race-high 66 laps. Robinson, however, was overtaken by Bob Strait with four laps remaining.
In her other ARCA start at Atlanta, coming in March 2003, Robinson started 21st before charging forward to finish 11th.
As far as the first female to compete at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Janet Guthrie owns that title. One of the pioneers of women racers in all of motorsports, she’s raced three times at AMS in what’s now called the Sprint Cup Series, finishing tenth in 1978.
Patty Moise's career includes a pair of Nationwide Series stints - a finish of 24th in 1995 and a 23rd in 1998.
Tina Gordon has one ARCA start at Atlanta, starting 10th and finishing 8th in 2002. She was also in the starting field for the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta in 2004. That race, however, ended early for Gordon when she was involved in a spectacular accident on the track's backstretch on the race's 46th lap.
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Jennifer Jo Cobb has two truck series starts and one in the Nationwide Series at AMS, finishing 21st in 2010. In 2011, she finished 23rd in the Good Sam Club 200 before qualifying for the next night's Great Clips 300.
Johanna Long, who has raced in six out of eight NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season, has one Atlanta start in the truck series, qualifying 14th last Labor Day weekend before seeing her race end early after being involved in a crash.
Gabi DiCarlo's career includes three truck series starts, one coming in 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Erin Crocker's truck series career includes two starts at Atlanta, both in 2006. Kelly Sutton has two starts in the truck series, finishing 31st and 32nd in 2005 and 2004
And although she is not racing in NASCAR, Sarah Fisher remains one of the most successful female drivers to have raced at Atlanta. In two IndyCar Series races, she finished in the top 15 each time - starting fifth and finishing 14th in 2000 and finishing 11th after starting 14th in 2001.
On Labor Day Weekend, a new chapter in the history of female drivers arrives with Danica Patrick slated to compete in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. We look forward to you joining us as Danica Patrick and the top drivers in NASCAR take on Atlanta Motor Speedway under the lights!