For the drivers of all divisions of racing, whether it be micros at your local dirt track or the asphalt racing found in NASCAR, many hardships can be found. From “racing is only left turns” to “racing is not a sport,” we drivers have heard it all. Every driver who speaks to their friends who are not familiar with racing has answered the questions and defended the sport they love on countless occasions. Those who have never been in a race car or attended a race may think that our sport is easy and that it is just fun and games. However, they have a rude awakening when they find out it isn’t as easy as the racing games at their local arcade.
Besides being a physically demanding sport, racing is just as much a mental sport. You don’t just get in a car and “turn left” as many people might say. Racing involves strategy and mental toughness. For those who look down upon racing, we are merely people who drive in circles. For those who have a passion and love for the sport, we are their weekly entertainment and maybe even their heroes in some cases. The people who never gave racing a chance or who didn’t grow up watching their favorite driver move up in the rankings and divisions each season are most driver’s motivation. I don’t know about others, but when I face someone who preaches that racing isn’t a sport, that motivates me to do everything in my power to change their way of thinking and see our side of the discussion. Everyone deals with hardships on different levels if they are a race car driver, but those who have some of the most unique hardships are the female drivers.
Every driver, male or female, in every division of racing has faced some kind of hardship in their career. It could be when moving up to a new and unfamiliar division, trying to learn your way around a new track, or even in some cases, your gender. Ever since I started racing when I was 8 years old, I have seen the difference in how men and women are treated at the track. In quarter midgets my cars were never girly looking or showed signs of me being a female. This resulted in me hearing a lot of comments before a race such as “good luck buddy” or “go get ‘em dude,” which doesn’t exactly mean they thought I was a male, but more than likely they did. The assumption is usually that racing is a man’s sport, but the number of female driver is always increasing, which is an awesome thing to see. Being a female in a male dominated sport brings along with it some baggage, but also just as many rewarding experiences. I think I can speak for all female drivers when I say that we do not want to be given special treatment when we are on the track. Race us like you would any other person and do not count us out because of our gender. Being a female driver is an amazing platform to show young girls that they can do anything that boys can do, regardless of what it is.
Even though male and female drivers may face different hardships on race day, we all share a common goal; that is to be successful and show those who frown upon racing what we are really about. All drivers can come together at the track regardless of their gender, age, occupation, etc. and have a common interest. Those spectators, family, and fans at your local track that come weekly to watch and support the competition are all the motivation a driver needs to show what our sport is about. So the next time someone says that racing isn’t a sport, invite them to your next race and prove to them that racing is a sport and so much more than that. It’s a way of life and the only way you’d want to live.
By : Alyssa Riker | 600+270 Micro Sprint Driver
Photo : Debra Stevenson
Edited By : BJ Antonio – CEO/Co-Founder of SmallCarWeekly.com
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