Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR
A certain someone might get all the media attention, but there's another female race car driver who's breaking records and winning trophies. At 20, Johanna Long is the youngest to ever compete in NASCAR's Nationwide Series, and in 2010 she won the coveted Snowball Derby. Yeah, it's not the Daytona 500, but Danica Patrick blew it yesterday, so there's still a chance Johanna might be the first lady to... well... first.
We spoke with her about keeping up with the male competition, and how guys' automotive ignorance is a major turnoff. She's more sweetheart than badass, but that's OK with us.
How'd you get into racing?
My dad raced when I was a little girl, so I started racing in go-karts when I was eight years old. I tried ballet and soccer and everything else, but I always wanted to go fast. I moved up the ranks from there and never looked back... I did the stock cars when I was 13 years old, and then moved up to NASCAR when I turned 18.
NASCAR is such a macho culture. Is it tough to match the guys' aggressiveness?
You have to walk around like you have swag for sure, because if you don't, you're gonna get run over. I feel like all the guys understand that I've won races, I've won championships and I belong here just like they do. Yeah, I'm a girl with long hair, but when you're on the track--once you put on the helmet--you're just like them. I can mix it up and be just as aggressive as they are.
So if a guy wants to date a racer girl, what's some advice?
Drive a stick-shift. I used to date a guy who didn't know how to drive stick, so I was pretty much just driving him around. That was a little different for me.