Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First female tire changer on Cup team leaves without changing a tire


   Christmas Abbott, who in February became the only woman employed in NASCAR as a full-time pit crew member, has left her Michael Waltrip Racing team without ever changing a tire in a race.

   Abbott's departure was confirmed on Tuesday night by a MWR spokesman. The team declined to release any other details regarding her departure.

   In February, Abbott, an elite-level fitness athlete whose journey to become a full-time pit crew member has been well-chronicled, was named to MWR's Sprint Cup organization's traveling pit support team.

   "I'm here to do whatever my coaches ask of me, and I don't want any handouts," Abbott said at the time of her hire. "I'm ready to work three races a weekend if that's what it takes to get me where I want to be.

   "I'm in it for thre long haul."

   Abbott, however, never made it into a race with the MWR organization and in recent months wasn't seen at the track on race day. 

   The most recent race Abbott appeared to work in a race was for a noncompetitive Truck series team during February Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/02/20/2695570/christmas-abbott-breaks-new-ground.html#storylink=cpyTo our knowledge, the last time Abbott changed a tire was on a non-competitive truck team during February’s Speedweeks in Daytona.

Kyle Petty: 'If the door is open ... it is easier to get here'

   Last Saturday's win by Darrell Wallace Jr. in the NASCAR Truck Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway was important for many reasons, but the most important may yet to be felt.

   Former driver and current Fox Sports 1 analyst Kyle Petty talks about the long-term ramifications of Wallace's victory - the first by an African-American driver in a NASCAR national series race in 50 years.

   "Saturday was a big step for NASCAR, its Drive for Diversity program and the sport in general. No matter how much we want to rewrite history and make it politically correct, NASCAR predominantly was a white, Southern sport for so many years. Only in the last 20 or 25 years has it become more of a national sport," Petty said.

   "The doors don’t seem to have opened as quickly or there haven’t been as many people coming through any open doors. But we’ve been seeing change with Danica Patrick, Johanna Long, Bubba Wallace, engineers and crew members all through the industry. The sport is well on its way to being just a microcosm of any other business.

   "The last barrier to break is the driver barrier. It’s incredibly tough to break that driver barrier because of the sheer numbers. There are 43 Cup drivers, 30 to 40 Nationwide drivers and 30 to 40 Truck drivers. You’re looking at no more than 100 or 125 people, so the numbers are against everyone - not just minorities. But if the door is open and the barrier has been broken, it is easier for people with talent, regardless of race, creed or color, to get here.”