Dedicated, motivated, hard working: those are just some of the words to describe dirt track racer Shannon Mudro. What started out a mother-daughter outing to the local track turned into a hobby that her whole family could enjoy.
“A month from that first night at the dirt track I had my own racecar sitting in the garage,” Mudro said. “A month after that I was starting my first race at the age of 15. I don’t think I have ever begged so much for something!“
The begging worked and quickly turned into something her whole family could enjoy on the weekends. “Some families go on vacations, some families have weekly game nights, but my family chose to spend their weekends at the racetrack having fun together,” said Mudro. “Racing is our fun hobby!”
Now, just a year and a half from completing her Bachelors Degree in the Science of Nursing from the University of St. Francis, Mudro looks back at her time on the track and back to her first top-10 finish, right before losing her uncle.
“I had started 19th in a 20-car field, and I remember rolling my eyes at my uncle when he told me that I’d get my first top-10 that night,” Mudro recalls, “my first top-10 in the modified (was) just two weeks before losing my biggest fan.”
If it wasn’t for her family and their endless hours of work they have put into her career over the years, Mudro says she wouldn’t be racing.
“My family has easily been the most important factors in my journey thus far. I can count on them to support me, reassure me, inspire me and even kick me in the rear when I need it.”
All of that support has taught her to work hard for everything she wants, including her education. As a full time student athlete playing tennis at the University of St. Francis, Mudro is also a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma national honor society.
“In all reality,” she says, “I don’t have much of a so-called social life.”
With what little free time she has, Mudro spends it doing service work. Currently fundraising for a mission trip to Bolivia in June, she hopes to raise enough money to take this once in a lifetime trip.
“I felt a calling to engage in a unique experience…I will participating in the Diocese of Joliet’s Annual Mission Trip to Sucre, Bolivia,” Mudro revealed. “During this trip to Bolivia, I hope to make an impact on the lives of those living in Sucre… working with individuals in daycare centers, hospitals and orphanages.”
Between racing, tennis, service work and school, Mudro has maintained a 3.8GPA, an outstanding feat in itself. But at the end of the day, racing is still in her blood.
So what does Mudro’s future in racing hold? She wants to continue to have fun out on the track.
“My dream is to continue having fun racing with my family,” Mudro says, “regardless of what series, class or division we’re racing in because if we’re not having fun doing it, then what’s the point?!”
If you want to help Shannon and her mission trip to Bolivia, check out her GoFundMe site at http://www.gofundme.com/5frh70
Continue to support and follow Shannon Twitter (@ShannonMudro), Facebook and her website.
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She’s an animal lover, a daughter, a friend and a racer. Cassie Gannis knew she wanted to get behind the wheel at a young age and when she finally got her chance, her life was never the same. “I got started in racing by watching my Dad race his Dwarf car at Manzanita Raceway. After that, all I wanted to do was watch racing,” Gannis said. “While my sister was watching Sesame Street, all I wanted to do was watch cars go around in circles!”
Every weekend, Gannis would ask her parents to turn on the race. When she played outside, she would race the neighborhood kids on her bike. Racing was in her blood before she even got behind the wheel for herself. At 10 years old, Gannis found herself in a quarter midget car for the first time and like they say, the rest is history.
Gannis took the quarter midget world by storm shortly after she got behind the wheel. Consistently placing in the top-5, Gannis moved up the ranks. In 2003, she earned the Arizona State Championship in the Bandolero Series. In 2005, she moved up to Legends where she earned Rookie of the Year honors. At 16, she earned her NASCAR License and became the youngest female to compete at Tucson Raceway Park. Gannis was making a name for herself in the world of racing and people were beginning to notice.
In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Gannis was one of thirty drivers chosen for NASCAR’s “Drive for Diversity” program and by 2012, she was racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West where she was voted as their “Most Popular Driver,” a moment that she says is one of the biggest moments in her career.
As her NASCAR career continues to grow, Gannis is learning firsthand just how important sponsorship really is.
“It is very hard to find sponsors for a small team,” Gannis said about sponsorship. “We are just a family owned/low budget team and we don’t have the marketing resources that others may have.”
Throughout her racing career, her family has been by her side. With a big family work ethic and strong values, her family is always pitching in to help with her race team.
Gannis has had the opportunity to talk with different race teams but a racing resume can only go so far without sponsorship backing.
“As a driver I want and would love to move up in NASCAR,” Gannis said. “I have interviewed with teams and have been offered rides based on my racing resume but you still need to bring sponsorship dollars along for the ride.”
In 2013, Gannis had the opportunity of a lifetime when she was one of nine drivers chosen to compete in the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge in Charlotte, North Carolina. Handpicked by PEAK and Driver/Owner Michael Waltrip, Gannis competed in a 3-day “Showdown in Charlotte” with instruction from NASCAR stars Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers.
The showdown, which aired on SPEED in early August, was a great opportunity for Gannis to show off her talents to some of NASCAR’s most influential people.
“First off, it was so wonderful for PEAK to provide such a wonderful opportunity,” Gannis said, thinking back to the challenge. “It was great to get the fans involved in voting and it was a lot of fun to be so engaged with them on social media. PEAK and Michael Waltrip provided an opportunity for the top nine drivers to showcase their talent. It was such an honor to be called to North Carolina. It was an experience I will never forget!”
Without the love and support from her family, friends, mentors and fans, opportunities like the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge would not have been possible.
“They (my family) have always been by my side supporting me every step of the way,” Gannis said. “Monty Shaw has been with me working on all my cars since Quarter Midgets. I also have a few mentors that I look up and I frequently call. One is Christi Edelbrock. She is a great sounding board for any questions or concerns I may have.”
When she is not in the car or at the racetrack, Gannis is spending time with her family, friends and pets.
“I love spending time with my dogs! I have 3 great rescue pets. All from shelters. Their names are Hobo, Coco and Oreo.”
For Gannis, her dream is clear and something she strives for each and every day. She dreams of one day working her way up through the ranks of NASCAR and in to the Sprint Cup Series, winning races and championships for her sponsor, team and fans.
Gannis in no doubt one of the future stars in the stock car industry and it won’t be long before she will be making national headlines.
Follow Cassie on Twitter and on her website www.CassieGannisRacing.com
Each and every season, drivers and teams from all over the motorsports world use their platform to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research during the month of October. For most in the sport who participate, it’s all about the pink paint scheme for one weekend during the month of October. For the lone female in the NASCAR Spring Cup Series, she and her sponsor have taken it one step further.
Danica Patrick is one of the most well-known racecar drivers in the world. Her popularity and fame came to light during the 2005 Indianapolis 500 when, as a Rookie, she became the first female to ever lead laps in the historic race then went on to finish 4th. With multiple records and historic feats under her belt, Patrick has a large following both in and out of the car.
This season, Patrick and her sponsor GoDaddy teamed up to raise money for breast cancer research during Breast Cancer Awareness month. Throughout the entire month of October, Patrick traded in her neon green GoDaddy car for a hot pink paint scheme instead.
“It’s not only important as a female athlete but as a female…it affects husbands and fathers,” Patrick told NASCAR Now in early October. “It’s about using my platform to be able to raise awareness and raise some money…”
GoDaddy will be donating $50,000 to the American Cancer Society and Chevrolet will donate $200 for every lap that the new 2014 pink Camaro SS leads under caution at Talladega and Martinsville and September’s race at Atlanta.
“GoDaddy has been such a strong partner in the fight against breast cancer… the fact that GoDaddy wanted to ‘go pink’ for the whole month of October really says a lot about our commitment to this cause,” Patrick said.
Seeing someone of her celebrity status use their platform to bring awareness to such an important cause can make a big difference in someone’s life. Decked out in pink, complete with pink GoDaddy converse, Patrick took to the streets in New York City in early October to unveil her car and announce her month long campaign.
Although the disease has never personally affected her, Patrick watched a close friend battle breast cancer and survive. A cause close to her heart, Patrick spoke about the car and her reason for going pink any chance she could.
I had the opportunity to talk to Patrick and see her race her pink GoDaddy paint scheme at Kansas Speedway and it really stuck out on the track. Complete with a pink firesuit, shoes and gloves, she really took the promotion to heart.
As the final race of October has come to a close, Patrick will retire the pink car and return to the all-familiar neon green but her efforts, and GoDaddys, will continue to be felt by those affected by this devastating disease long after.
So how much will Chevrolet end up donating to the American Cancer Society? Here is how it should all break down (Note: These are just my calculations):
Atlanta: 9 caution flags for a total of 47 laps = $9,400
Talladega: 3 caution flags for a total of 10 laps = $2000
Martinsville: 17 caution flags for a total of 111 laps = $22,200
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“It all started with a tweet.”
That is how racecar driver Shea Holbrook says the Twitter hashtag#SteelOvaryNation was started. The campaign was created after the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series (NCWTS) season opener in Daytona.
Here’s the backstory: Johnny Sauter, sponsored by “Carolina Nut,” was the winner of the NCWTS race at Daytona. After the race, Shea saw multiple tweets congratulating Sauter on his win, saying that it “took big nuts to win that one.” Shea’s response was golden, and it took off like a rocket. “I contemplated chiming in on the conversation and finally went for it,” Shea said, “saying ‘Girls have big nuts too. It’s called ovaries.’”
It was after the outrageous number of responses to that tweet that she decided to create the hashtag#SteelOvaryNation with the help of a few friends.
#SteelOvaryNation is a brand representing female drivers, engineers, mechanics, broadcasters, bloggers, fans, and car and motorsport gurus. The purpose of this campaign is to create a common place to be energetic, fun and it is ultimately a place to bring people together to support women in the motorsports industry.
Is this just for females? Absolutely not.There is a place for male fans too, and they even have their ownhashtag. With support from many male race fans, #Brovaries was created.
“#Brovaries have been AWESOME!” Shea exclaimed. “They’ve been hilarious, kind and very supportive.” The #Brovariescome in many different forms as well. They are fans, media personnel, bloggers, drivers and more.
#SteelOvaryNation has quickly expanded far beyond the Twitterverse. There is now a Facebook Fan Page and most recently, a website, SteelOvaryNation.com.
“The website is the hub where people can check out unique women in motorsports,” said Shea. “As well as dudes that support us chicas.”
Fellow driver Patrick Gallagher thinks the website is a great place for people to show support for females in the motor-racing industry. “This has been a male dominated sport and this is a great way to show people that women can get involved,” he said.
Shannon Mudro, a fellow racecar driver agreed, saying, “I love how interactive the site is in the sense that anyone can be featured on the site by showing their support for #SteelOvaryNation through pictures and blog posts.”
Having a community that supports females in the motorsports industry is a great way to put the spotlight on a great group of people. The number of women in this industry keeps growing thanks to drivers like Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher and more recently, Danica Patrick, whose endeavors have paved the way for generations to come.
“Racing is one of the few sports in which women can compete directly with men on equal terms,” said Bill Zahren, blogger and creator of “Women of Pressdog.”
Women are not only growing in numbers on the racetrack, but they are “becoming more and more successful in motorsports showing that they can compete on the same level as the [men],” said Gallagher.
It is obvious that the motorsports industry is becoming more open-minded about women in the field and that is one thing that Shannon Mudro loves to see. “The sport is becoming more saturated with women, and it’s a beautiful thing!” she exclaimed.
Holbrook seems to agree. “For every little girl out there that is interested in racing but won’t say anything because it’s seen as a ‘good ol’ boys club,’ we hope to give them the strength to pursue their interests,” she said.
That is one of the goals of #SteelOvaryNation because like #Brovary Jack Carter says, “you never know there is a difference until somebody takes their helmet off.”
#SteelOvaryNation keeps growing and gaining recognition all across the world beginning with a TweetUp at the IndyCar Series opener in St Petersburg where Shea, racecar driver Pippa Mann, and others took to the stage to talk about the campaign.
“Every track we go to will promote via social media a gathering or TweetUp where people can come meet some of the #SteelOvaryNation ladies”, said Shea.
There have been suggestions of tents in the midway and fan zones to even decals on cars. “It would be cool if supportive female drivers would somehow incorporate the hashtag into their cars or uniforms and make it sort of a rallying cry for female racers,” says Zahren.
Banning together to bring support and recognition to females in the industry is what the creators of this campaign want to see. “Channeling female racers and supporters into one brand makes it easy for people to interact, communicate and identify with us,” says Mudro.
In talking with Shea and everyone else involved with #SteelOvaryNation, it is clear that they have big dreams for this campaign that all formed because of a tweet. The recognition of this campaign continues to grow and with the website now up in full force, it’s easier than ever for people to get involved.
Male or female, #SteelOvaryNation welcomes and recognizes all. Get involved and help make this campaign even bigger than anyone can even imagine. The best part about the website though is pretty obvious; they have a swag section!
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