Wednesday, July 10, 2013

T There are still jobs that keep women out of the workplace. You will not see any women working at the pit stop during a car race. Till now, maybe. Yet we allow women to stand on the front lines in the military in some of the most dangerous jobs. Well, finally there is one woman who dares to break the gender barriers in NASCAR on pit row. She is no long time gear head. She didn’t even know what the sound of an air tool was. Yet she was actively recruited by a marketing executive from NASCAR.

Some view her as a pioneer in the business while others think she is just a plant to draw attention to the sport. She is hot and has posed for practically no clothes on advertisements but who knows if that had anything to do with why she was picked to lead women to that male dominated occupation. Her name is Christmas Abbott all 115 pounds of her at 31 years old. Her duty on the crew is in the front tire position where she cranks off all five lug nuts, pulls off the tire, replaces it with a fresh one and puts the lug nuts back on. Then repeat on the other side. The entire pit crew’s efforts take about 12 seconds.

You can find her at Phoenix International Raceway along with 43 logo covered drivers and she who is someone new, that the cameras want to point at. Abbott’s coach Shaun Peet said he thought bringing on a woman was a publicity stunt at first. Of which, “I wanted no part of,” he said. “And I think, I was convinced, when I saw her. She ran a 6.8 [second] right side the other day, which for as long as she’s being doing it is exceptional,” This girl has a coach to hold an air tool to unscrew lug nuts?

She has fame since it is so odd to see her there and seems to be the pint sized superwoman who has swooped in to win the hearts and eyeballs of NASCAR fans everywhere. Abbott says, “I love changing tires. The adrenaline of running in front of a car and then having the car zip by you, 50 to 60 miles an hour behind you is unreal. And when I hear the sound of the air gun, it makes me want to go fast,” she says. “It’s like hearing ‘3, 2, 1 … go.’”

The fans are super dedicated and they love her. After all she is a woman doing a traditionally man’s job since forever. For the last year she has been training to change tires and be the first woman to be on a pit crew at NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Level. Today, pit crews are made up of elite athletes many of which are recruited from professional sports. So, how did a 5 foot 3 inch woman find herself being asked if she wanted to play with the whizzy sounding toy, the air tool that unscrews lug nuts?

She was a cross fit athlete that is a high intensity conditioning program. She can lift heavy weights fast and is a master teacher who trains coaches and owns her own gym. Her videos have made her a cross fit celebrity and she also poses for sexy pictures. Her fit body covered in tattoos make her very interesting to look at. She is as much as a marketing tool as some of the drivers.

Her skill involves removing 5 lug nuts in less than two seconds and pulling off the 65 pound tire with no problem. She can complete a full pit stop taking off both front tires in about 15 seconds which is remarkable but still a few seconds off from world class time. In 2004 she went to Iraq and it was there that she got into cross fit. Her unbelievably fit body got her into NASCAR.

Now the good old boys sport seems to be looking for girls as drivers and pit crew people. With TV ratings going down, they are looking to the girls to create new interest in the sport.





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