NASCAR has been abuzz this season with Danica Patrick’s full time switch to the Nationwide Series, and start in the Daytona 500. She’s a well known, high profile female driver, everyone, fan or not, knows who she is. She’s all over every medium that that covers racing, and even ones that don’t.
Notice: She is not the driver pictured for this article.
That would be Johanna Long.
In case you’re wondering who Johanna Long is, she’s a 19 year old who is starting to make her entrance into NASCAR. Long started 17 of the 25 truck races last season, with a best finish of 11th and a points finish of 21st. She was forced to run only a partial schedule as she was unable to obtain full time sponsorship for her family owned team. She managed this at the age of 18.
Patrick has no issues finding sponsorship, as GoDaddy followed her over from Indy, and frankly would have been dumb not to, as Patrick garners so much attention. After wrecking in every event she took part in at Daytona it was expected to see some sort of improvement from her at Phoenix – being much less of a crap-shoot than the high banked superspeedway. However, Patrick only managed to come home 21st – 3 laps down.
The Daytona wreck and the 21st place finish is making Patrick’s need to prove herself at Vegas even higher.
Currently sitting 24th in points, Long is only 3 spots – 7 points – behind Patrick in the Nationwide points standings. She did not compete in last Sunday’s Phoenix race – she finished 11th at Daytona, her first Nationwide start.
Long is expected to run a partial schedule this season, competing in 21 of the 33 events. She won’t get nearly the same attention as the other female competing, but if she continues showing her ability behind the wheel, she will outperform her.
Isn’t that what really matters?