Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Girls Can Play With Trucks, Too

Ever since the earliest days of NASCAR, women have gone door-to-door with their male racing counterparts.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is certainly no exception.

For anyone who followed NASCAR for at least the past decade, one name stands out when they hear the phrase “woman racer”: Danica Patrick. But while Patrick was certainly the highest profile example, she really doesn’t have much to contribute in terms of the trucks.

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Patrick may have zero starts in the series but there’s no shortage of others who have.

Hailie Deegan is currently in her third full-time year, with four top-10 finishes.

A pair of sixths is her best result so far, but she has an excellent opportunity to improve on that in the ThorSport Racing No. 13 as the year goes on. Another young talent joining the likes of Deegan and Natalie Decker will be Toni Breidinger.

Breidinger has spent the last two years behind the wheel of a Venturini Motorsports ARCA Menards Series ride and is eager to find her place among the trailblazers of racing. She will make her first start on the tour this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

The previous generation has its own female representatives at the Truck level. Angela Ruch and Jennifer Jo Cobb have raced for years albeit with minimal success. Cobb had one top-10 finish, a sixth in 2011 at Daytona International Speedway.

However, as with everything, there was a first. The woman who started a Truck Series race when no one else has before. Tammy Jo Kirk made her debut in the 1997 season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway, qualifying ninth and finishing 24th in a truck owned by longtime Cup Series competitor Geoffrey Bodine.

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Kirk made 32 starts over the next two years, notching a career best of 11th at the Heartland Motorsports Park road course in Topeka, Kansas in 1997.

Women have been well represented in stock car racing and the truck division is no different. The next group of female competitors appear to be ready to carry the torch, continuing the legacy that has existed nearly as long as the truck series itself.

Truckin’ Tidbits

  • There’s a pair of Cup drivers in this week’s race. Kyle Busch is back in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51, while Ross Chastain will pilot the No. 41 Niece Motorsports truck. Both are past winners at the 1.5-mile oval, with Chastain claiming the 2019 version and Busch picking up three wins.
  • No driver has ever won consecutive visits to Kansas Speedway. Ricky Hendrick, the late son of team owner Rick Hendrick, was the first to claim victory and each event since has had a different winner than the one prior.

About the author

frank.velat7

Frank Velat has been an avid follower of NASCAR and other motorsports for over 20 years. He brings a blend of passionate fan and objective author to his work. Frank offers unique perspectives that everyone can relate to, remembering the sport's past all the while embracing its future. Follow along with @FrankVelat on Twitter.

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