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 Columns & Editorials

August 25, 2001

"Racing Widows?" Not Anymore!

By Luann Nieborg

A very wise woman I know recently said, "Love and marriage is about sharing and compromising. He should not have to give up racing and his spouse should not have to be a racing widow". That got me thinking how many women do I know who feel like they're racing widows? With all of the different tracks that Hans & I travel to, I have seen a lot of women sitting in the stands and most of them were seen cheering their husbands on to victory, near victory or the very best night he has had in a long time. I've watched them as they hold up their young children and say, "Watch honey here comes Daddy. He's going to get third this week. Isn't that great?" It didn't seem to matter to them at all that he didn't win, as long as he did his best. I have seen them get mad as a caged tiger when another racer bumps, scrubs or outright rams their spouse during a race (sometimes getting as vocal, if not more than, their husbands do). I have also seen the wives roll up their sleeves and push the car into the pits after something broke; crawling under the car and helping to fix it; banging out a dented fender or grousing about a rotten call. Racing widows? No not from where I have been watching.

On the flip side I have also sat in the pit stands and listened to husbands crowing as their wives passed another racer or took the lead. Shouting encouragement to their other half as she zoomed by knowing she probably can't hear him, but so what? "That's his wife out there!". I 've also listened to the very "GUY" comment of "If so and so hits our car again I am going to pound them into the ground!" (Wow, I could swear I heard something similar to that during the race from another voice a bit higher in pitch though). I've watched as fathers pointed to the track as they said to their small daughters, "Look honey Mommy's going to kick butt tonight. Someday we'll build a car for you too." I have also seen hugs and concern as she crawls out of a very crumpled car "It's ok as long as you're not hurt. We can fix it and try again next week."

We so often think of racing as being a MAN'S sport, the little woman inside fixing dinner as he works on HIS car night after night getting it ready for the weekend. You see, that's changing and we're seeing husbands and wives working together to get it ready in time. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles pulling together to "get 'er done" before race night. This has often been the way of it. It's where the idea that racing is a "Family Sport" came from.

More and more though, the cars that are being worked on belong to the wife or daughter of the family instead of the husband or the son. We're seeing fewer and fewer "Racing Widows" and, thankfully, more and more "Racing Families".

Racing Widows? Not if the women of today can help it, because they won't stand for being left on the outside looking in. Now, they can be found in the Driver's seat experiencing the same passions and addictions that the men seem to suffer from.

Good luck ladies, and remember the winner's circle isn't only at the track. It's in the heart too.

Luann Nieborg

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