I think I’ve seen every female who has attempted to race in NASCAR, and all have come and gone.
“If these races had been 250 miles or 200 laps, I think I could have made it,” said Patty Moise, wife of Elton Sawyer. “Once they got past those two points, that’s when I fell out, literally.”
Some of the others, including Shawna Robinson, who, at one time, I thought had the best chance of any of them to make it, virtually said the same thing as Moise.
The upper body strength and stamina of female drivers has prevented women from advancing too far when it comes to NASCAR competition.
Janet Guthrie did the best of any of them.
I never saw Louise Smith drive, but from what I’ve read and heard, Louise Smith limited herself to the shorter, less stressful races. It was even demanding back then, especially without power steering.
Now along comes Megan Reitenour, a 19-year-old from Miamisburg, Ohio, who hopes to do what no other female has done in NASCAR’s top three series — win a race.
If nothing else, Reitenour, who has been running lately at North Carolina’s Tri-County and Hickory speedways, is coming in with the right idea.
“I realize stamina and upper-body strength are two key parts of this business,” says Reitenour, a third-generation driver who got her start at the age of 5 with the help and insistence of her father, Bill. “I recently was working with a professional trainer, and now I’m working at gyms and YMCAs and any place else I can.
“Stamina and upper body strength will not be the reasons I fail, but I don’t intend to fail.”
Reitenour is hooked up with veteran Kip McCloud of Harrisburg, N.C., who has been a crew chief for several NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams.
“I tell you, when you see her drive, you’ll understand what I’m talking about,” says McCloud. “She’s spunky with swagger, besides being good.
“She certainly had them talking about her when she won that race (super cup) up there at Langley (Va.) Speedway. That was a pretty big race, too, with a big field of good drivers.”
Reitenour, who prefers the Nos. 92 or 33 on her race cars, figures she’s won more than 300 feature races in everything she’s raced, including super cup cars.
While she’s living in Statesville, N.C., at present, Reitenour is trying to get all the experience she can get, at whatever level’s available.
“We just hope we can come up with some sponsorship help along the way,” says McCloud. “That’s what keeps everything going.”
Reitenour also has another talent. She says she wouldn’t mind getting her degree to become a veterinarian.
Watching her handle her small black-and-white dog, Turbo, one would think she was already a vet.
Even the cover of the book, “Passion and Struggle,” written by Greg Palmer about Reitenour, shows her holding a driver’s helmet with that dog peeking out of the helmet
Maybe this lady has a chance at making it where others have failed.