I typically would not really celebrate what I normally call a social media generated day of recognition…ok the dogs one YES! But today, I feel the need to jot down a few thoughts on how I’d like to recognize a few women and uplift them on their achievements. It’s National Women’s Day. This is not because I just thought I’d be nice and tout how sweet I am – but rather… to let go of my anger for other women, and men quite frankly in our sport that have done the opposite.
I read a quote on Insta today – “Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world that it was crooked”. Wow. Powerful stuff right?
It came to my attention that after 25 years of putting my heart and soul into the sport we recognize as NASCAR, there are still professional (I use that term loosely here, you will read why) women (and men) that continue to say horrific, insulting and quite literally LIES about my journey in a sport I love. A sport that led me to my husband and best friend. A sport that has provided me amazing friendships. A sport that has placed me around mentors and teachers of life and broadcast journalism, sales & sponsorships, management. You name it – NASCAR has been a nucleus in my life now for 25 years.
I was infuriated when a couple witnesses called to address the foul accusation that was verbalized in the Daytona International Speedway media room just days before our biggest race and season opener – this year! My normal instinct would be to call the person out… in every form of media I had available. Send them a text directly asking why they would suggest or say such an insulting and not true statement in front of the current media. Do the same back to them in some manner to make sure they were called out for their ridiculous statement.
Then I went on a walk. With my dog.
And I started brainstorming.
Wouldn’t it be powerful and freeing to actually flip the narrative?
Wouldn’t it make more sense and show your good soul by recognizing those that have been a positive force in your life, or those you admire in the industry?
Yes - thou I won’t lie – I’d still love to send that damn text!
So here it goes…. Now, none of you need to straighten up your crowns – you are doing just fine! I am calling out women in this sport who have encouraged me through your hard work, examples of success on various levels, fresh ideas, sense of humor in times of frustration, encouragement to me directly when I needed it most, independence, generosity, and a handful of other really nice and complimentary points!
Judy Kouba Dominick
Mandy Kirkland Underwood
Kelley Earnhardt Miller
Lyn St James
There are so many more…. But these names came to mind today because I was either encouraged or helped by them – for the right reasons. Sincerity.
It also inspired me to hopefully gather these ladies up and chat honestly about our journeys.
We have not dived deep into the lives of some of these amazing and successful women. Why not? Yes Mike Davis, Dirty Mo Media, I will be calling you for a podcast series!
Maybe this would help people not jump to negative accusation or insulting commentary about someone if you took the time to actually know them. Ask about their history. Ask about why they came into motorsports. What drove them to be who they are? Who has influenced them in a positive manner. Who has challenged their efforts? How they managed those challenges. Clear up any misconceptions about influencers in our sport.
For example, when I started with SiriusXM radio back in 2012 I negotiated my own contract. A contract that provided me six weeks off a year. Many of my broadcast peers felt that was ridiculous, but no one asked WHY I requested the time off air. It wasn’t because I felt special or entitled. I simply decided what MY time was worth. They offered what they could financially, and I simply backed out the days so both parties were happy. You would be amazed at some of the comments that were made inside the garage. AMAZED. One was so insulting my husband picked up the phone and called one of those ugly comment makers out. That person still won’t look my way today – and they were a member of the motorsports media. Instead of actually being a reporter and search the truth, it was easier to make an off handed sexually horrific comment about me taking off too much time because I was …. Well – I won’t even go there. It was that bad. I was also managing a driver at that time – so just imagine.
My real peers in the garage made sure I knew what was being said. My husband and hero handled it. Case closed. Until today. I felt those rude and sexist comments were done for me. I am fifty years old for heavens sake! I have put in my time for 25 years trying to prove myself a manager, author, broadcaster, consultant, event planner, emcee, supportive wife, friend. The list goes on.
What a new concept?
An open discussion that may shock a few people and educate on the many amazing people behind the sport we all appreciate and love so much.
Oh – and I gotta call out my radio mentor Dave Moody as well – Yes… you are not a woman – but you have been a positive influence and mentor for many I mentioned above. No one forced you to help. You just wanted to make us better and respected. And for that, you need to be recognized my friend.
And to the few small minded cruel folks that continue to spread ugly comments…. Just be nice.
You may like yourself better if you try it.
Happy Women’s Day!