While many people believe that we live in a man's world, the ladies are out to prove them wrong. Not only have women gained prominent positions in the business world, but they have proven to be just as good in sports, entertainment, and whatever else you can think of. Some Hollywood actresses are paid more than their male counterparts, and many voters opted for a female candidate.
Men have dominated racing sports such as Formula 1 and NASCAR, but women are adamant to prove that they have what it takes to attract sponsors and viewers. NASCAR drivers such as Danica Patrick have given women hope to enter the competitive industry and make a name for themselves. Not only have women such as Patrick shown that females can compete in a male-dominated environment, but they can also make a lot of money from it and get the respect that they want from men.
Although male drivers have garnered a reputation for being fast drivers, some female counterparts have shown that they can do just as good of a job on the track. We wanted to find out which female drivers had the skills to compete with male drivers, so we looked at their track records. While the racing industry has seen an increase in female participants, not all of them have the necessary skills. We discovered female race drivers who constantly perform well and ones who never win.
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20 Wins: Tatiana Calderon
When you're young, you've got time on your side. Considering that Calderon is only 25 years old, she has time to improve her racing career. She is the test driver for the Sauber Formula One team and competitively drove for Jenzer Motorsport in the GP3 Series in 2018.
She started her career by racing go-karts at the age of nine and progressed to car racing at the age of seventeen. She has shown the potential to be a good driver, as she was the first woman to stand on the podium in the British Formula 3 International Series. She scored a podium finish at the Red Bull Ring and has won other races.
19 Wins: Christina Nielsen
What could be better than dating a female Danish driver? One of the things that would make it better is if she won races. Nielsen has more than just looks going for her, she also wins races.
At only 27 years old, Nielsen has made an impact on the racing industry. She is the daughter of 24 Hours of Le Mans driver Lars Erik-Nielsen and the first female driver to win the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series. Nielsen has participated in numerous racing series such as Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and Formula Ford Denmark.
18 Wins: Hailie Deegan
Considering that Deegan is only 17 years old and a professional racer, that accomplishment should be enough to be amongst the prominent female racing drivers. She started her racing career off-road but transitioned to asphalt to pursue a career in stock car racing.
Deegan didn't want to receive credit only for her age and put her foot on the pedal to be the only woman to win a race in the K&N Pro series. Deegan competes full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and part-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. In the West series, she had one win and two pole positions. She finished 5th in 2018.
17 Wins: Sabine Schmitz
Since Schmitz is German, the most obvious team that she would drive for was BMW or Porsche; she drives for both. She has garnered a reputation for driving the BMW ring taxi around the Nurburgring race track. Schmitz was the overall winner of the 24 Hours Nurburgring in 1996 and 1997 for BMW and third in 2008 for Porsche.
She gained further recognition after appearing on Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson. The producers were so impressed by her performance that they invited her to a host, as part of the revamped Top Gear program.
16 Wins: Courtney Force
One of the women who was adamant about proving that she had more to offer than looks is Courtney Force. She was a former drag racer who competed on the NHRA tour. In 2014, Force achieved the 100th win by a female driver in the NHRA in Kansas. She won her first FC race in 2012 by defeating Matt Hagen at the Northwest Nationals at Seattle.
Force qualified in the number one position for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals. Although Force debuted in 2011, she felt that she had accomplished everything she wanted in racing and announced her retirement in January 2019.
15 Wins: Milka Duno
Duno is one of the most beautiful and successful female racing drivers. She is a Venezuelan driver who competed in the IndyCar Series and the ARCA racing series. Considering that Duno is a former model, many male racing fans tuned in to watch her behind the wheel.
Besides the adrenaline that rushes through her, she has a masters degree in Organizational Development and has experience in naval engineering. She was the first woman to finish in a class podium at the Le Mans Series. Duno was the Vice-Champion driver in the LMP 675 Class of the Le Mans Series.
14 Wins: Erica Enders-Stevens
Having started her career at age 8, Enders-Stevens won the Division 4 Jr. Dragster championship in the 8 to 9-year-old class. She received the title of Junior Dragster Driver of the Year in 1995 and had 37 wins during her eight years participation of the junior dragster competition.
She was the 35th woman in history to win at the NHRA and the first woman to qualify number one in Pro Stock. Enders-Stevens became the first woman in history to win the NHRA National Record for Pro Stock in 2014. She won the series for the second consecutive year in 2015.
13 Wins: Pippa Mann
Another female British driver that has made an impact on the racing scene is Pippa Mann. She competes in the Verizon IndyCar series. Mann signed with Cram by P1 Europe, thereby becoming the first female to race in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Besides being one of the best female racing drivers, Mann also cares about being a philanthropist, as she raised $50,000 for charity. She has received recognition for her achievements on and off the race track. When not racing, Mann also works as a driving coach.
12 Wins: Danica Patrick
She admitted that she doesn't discuss cars with her friends and lacks knowledge about an automobile's intricacies. As long as she kept winning, nobody asked her general knowledge questions about a car's engine. Patrick is a former professional racing driver and the most successful woman in the history of US open-wheel racing.
She started her career by winning the World Karting Association Grand National Championship. Patrick received the Rookie of the Year award for the 2005 IndyCar Series season. She has competed in over 190 races of the NASCAR Cup series.
11 Wins: Shirley Muldowney
Although Muldowney is no longer in the game, she made a big impact on the racing scene in her day. Racing pundits know her as the First Lady of Drag Racing. Muldowney was the first woman to receive a license from the National Hot Rod Association to drive a top fuel Dragster.
Muldowney won the NHRA Top Fuel Championship in 1977, 1980 and 1982. She has won 18 NHRA national events. Considering that Muldowney is one of the best female drivers of all time, the Motorsports Hall of Fame made her an inductee.
10 Can't Drive: Katherine Legge
Women around the world have shown that they have the goods to compete with men. British female drivers such as Legge have asserted their skills by showcasing their talent. In 2005, Legge won the Toyota Atlantic Championship at Long Beach, in her first career Atlantic start.
She was the first woman to lead a lap in a series at the 2006 Champ Car Season. Legge managed to maintain the lead for twelve laps at the Milwaukee race. She has been involved in series such as the Champ Car, IndyCar, and British Formula Three.
9 Can't Drive: Mackena Bell
Bell started her racing career at the age of five, racing go-karts and competed in the K&N Pro Series East. She competed in six race of the K&N Pro Series, as part of the Drive for Diversity program in NASCAR. She failed to finish four of the races and recorded the best finish position at 18th place. Bell didn't finish two of the fourteen races.
Bell also competed in the Nationwide Series at the end of 2014. She started the race in 39th position and finished 29th. Her best finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series was 69th in 2014. Considering she's 28 years old, she has time to improve.
8 Can't Drive: Paige Decker
Sister to Claire, Decker is a stock car racing driver, who has raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series. She was also a participant in the 2014 NASCAR Drive for Diversity. While completing her degree in early childhood education, Decker quit pursuing a career in racing by competing in the Southern United States season.
In 2015, she returned to college while competing to race late models. Since Decker is 25-years old, she has time to garner more races under her belt, which could lead to victories, but she must consistently compete to advance her career.
7 Can't Drive: Rahel Frey
Competing in the Formula Renault Germany and Switzerland doesn't mean that you're an incredible driver. Once you enter the series, you have to prove yourself. Frey has competed in those series, as well as International Formula Master and Eurocup Formula Renault.
Rahel joined the Audi DTM squad and replaced Katherine Legge in 2011 but did not wish to carry on with her DTM career and left at the beginning of the 2013 season. Frey hasn't recorded any wins. Compared to other drivers, she hasn't raced too many races.
6 Can't Drive: Claire Decker
The one thing that Decker has going for her is age. At 23 years old, Decker has plenty of time to improve as a racer. Although her current career isn't notable, it doesn't mean that it can't change. She is a stock car racing driver and a participant in the 2014 NASCAR Drive for Diversity.
Her best finish in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series was 105th in 2016. Decker is the daughter of Allen Decker, who comes from a family of snowmobile racing riders. She is in the early stages of her career, so she has ample time to add wins and races to her record.
5 Can't Drive: Maryeve Dufault
I understand if some might be upset with Dufault featured under the racers who can't drive. Let's not get beauty confused with skills. Considering that Dufault hasn't had any wins or notable achievements means that she has a long way to go. That doesn't mean that she's not going to get better.
Dufault stated that she models to earn money so that she can be a race car driver. She said that she didn't buy clothes; instead, she opted for buying tires. I commend her for the effort and wish her the best in her career. Besides racing, Dufault raised $10,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
4 Can't Drive: Natacha Gachnang
Having family ties in the business doesn't guarantee success. Gachnang is the cousin of former Formula 1 driver Sebastien Buemi. She was also a member of the first all-female crew to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gachnang has participated in the Formula BMW ADAC Meisterschaft.
After leaving the Le Mans for a few years but didn't make any notable achievements. During her time in the FIA Formula Two Championship career, Gachnang's best finish was 23rd in 2009. At 31-years of age, it seems that Gachnang's has only a few years to make an impression.
3 Can't Drive: Carmen Jorda
It seems that some women in racing possess more looks than skills. One of those women is Jorda. Her performance on the track doesn't get much attention. When the FIA announced Jorda as an advocate for women in racing, Pippa Mann voiced her concerns on social media.
"Dear @fia, if the news I am hearing is correct, and you have appointed a racer with no notable results, who does not believe we compete as equals in this sport, to represent women in racing, I am incredibly disappointed. Sincerely -an #Indy500 qualifier, #IndyLights race winner. 3,704," tweeted Mann, according to NESN.
2 Can't Drive: Deborah Renshaw
Fans of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will recognize Renshaw as a former driver. The best result that Renshaw achieved in the 38 races that she ran over two years in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is 24th place.
She ran in the 14 of the last 15 races of the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and did not finish higher than the 15th place. Her final position standing was 24th. The EasyCare pullout resulted in Renshaw losing her ride at the Bobby Hamilton Racing, ending her career.
1 Can't Drive: Tia Norfleet
Everybody has the potential to improve, and Tia Norfleet has the goods to make it once she commits to her racing career. While numerous controversies surrounded Norfleet's career, she struggled to make a name for herself. She can improve her career if she stays on the straight and narrow.
The New York Times made several claims that the incidents hurt Norfleet's racing career, but she can bounce back if she cleans up her act. Although Norfleet hasn't won any races nor accomplished any significant accolades in racing, the world is her oyster if she chooses a better path.
Sources - NESN, ESPN & NASCAR