Female Race Car drivers History
By Michelle Cabatingan
My love of cars and wanting to race them began at a young age of nine years old. It started on a winter afternoon in 2004 when my dad came home with a brand new PlayStation 2, a gaming system that my cousin introduced to me. Every time I went to visit him we would always be playing the video game, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. I had been asking for one, ever since then. He set the blue box in front of the television, sat down with me and we started to assemble all the cords and inserted them into the television and the outlet. I pushed the “on” button on both the television and the PlayStation at the same time and waited for it to start up. The game that came with the PlayStation was called Gran Turismo 3, a race car video game. I was fascinated by the cars, by the shape of the cars and how they were driving incredibly fast. I played the game every day until it got to the point that I couldn’t beat my own fastest lap times.
As I grew up, I became more aware of the real race cars on television and suddenly, it seemed, video games weren’t interesting enough for me. I needed more. I became more aware and knowledgeable of car models and styles from every day street cars to exotic sports cars. I occasionally watched the NASCAR races on television, thrilled with the skill and speed. Recently, I was watching, a televised race when I noticed the announcers commenting about a female competitor. I had never seen or heard of a female racing in the NASCAR races or any type of auto racing before and so I looked her up. Her name is Danica Patrick, the first female driver I’ve seen competing in the male dominated sport of auto racing. I never knew a female could compete in an auto race against men, and I was captivated. I imagined myself driving, racing a high-powered car and wondering if I could make such a dream a reality. Contemplation of whether this is a possibility for me and other women lead me to ask the question: How has auto racing evolved in accepting women participants?
Today, women are becoming more involved in the sport of auto racing starting at a young age and training determinedly to become a professional driver. However, in the 1940s when auto racing was steadily emerging in popularity in the United States, this was not the case. Males dominated the sport. A look back in history shows the evolution of racing.