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The Only Mom Racing NASCAR Also Wants to Be the First Woman to Win Big
Racing News

*******On the surface NASCAR seems like a pretty progressive sport.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing started all the way back in 1948, and it took just a year for the first female driver to make an appearance on the track. In 1949, when the first edition of what is today the Cup Series came around, a driver named Sara Christian duked it out against 32 men. While pro basketball, soccer, tennis and golf are separated by gender (and the NFL and MLB don’t even have female equivalents), in theory, women have an equal shot at taking home the Sprint Cup Trophy.

“In theory” being the operative phrase there. At the moment, there are no women in the top two levels of NASCAR, and in the third-tier Truck Series there are only two, one of whom is Angela Ruch. As of one year ago, she’s also the only mom to be competing in NASCAR. The lack of female representation has led some sports writers to wonder, where have all the women gone?

If asked publicly, any top dog in the auto-racing world will tell you the same thing: I don’t care if they’re a man or a woman, boy or a girl, I just care if they can race. And that may be part of the equation. But when we asked Ruch if it’s still an alpha-male world, she was quick to respond: “It absolutely is.”

During Ruch’s career, she’s had to navigate that culture both on and off the track, in the form of chest-thumping male drivers and fans who are quick to criticize her where they may lay off the guys. But in recent years, as Ruch attempts a comeback after a racing hiatus, she’s notched some impressive stats and hopes to be the first woman to win big.

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, we dialed up Ruch to talk about NASCAR’s lack of diversity, how she’s been training while the sport has been paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what she sees as the future of auto racing.
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