Ladies deserve a chance too

By Anthony Rhoads

I was recently on an online message board for the CMT reality series ?The Drive.'

For those unfamiliar with the program, it's a show that goes behind the scenes of the careers of several minor-league race car drivers including former Thursday Thunder driver Michelle Theriault, who is now racing on the Hooters ProCup Series.

The show features another up-and-coming female driver, Sarah McCune, from Ohio.

When I was on ?The Drive' message board, one of the postings was very negative toward Theriault and McCune . The author of the message stated that girls should not be racing.

I don't know much about McCune but I do know that Theriault has some racing skills that I've seen first hand in Legends races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Senoia Speedway.

Theriault was not the first female to win a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Cindy Anderson holds that distinction) but Theriault was the first female to win a points championship when she won the 2001 Young Lions title.

After winning the Young Lions title in 2001, she moved up to the Pro Division in 2002 and had seven top fives on her way to a third-place finish in the final standings.

She also holds the distinction of being the only female driver to have won Legends races both in Atlanta and Charlotte. She's also the only female to post three feature wins at Lanier National Speedway.

After a successful Legends career, she moved up to racing late models at Lanier.

This year, she got the chance to race in the Hooters ProCup Series and took advantage of her opportunity.

Currently, she's 21st in the series points standings and is seventh in the rookie standings.

She hasn't been incredibly competitive this year but she's still very inexperienced when it comes to racing in a national late-model series.

She's had a couple of decent races this year but she's struggled this year as she has trying to gain valuable experience on the track.

Hopefully, she'll get on track and do well in the Hooters ProCup series and move up the ranks of stock-car racing.

One of her goals is to race in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and if she is able to reach that goal, why shouldn't she be given a chance?

Theriault might have what it takes to move up to stock-car's elite series but then again she may not. It might turn out that she doesn't have what it takes to be successful in racing but if she doesn't make it, it should be because of her ability not because of her gender.

Paving the way for other female drivers: Female drivers in stock-car racing is definitely not a new phenomenon as several women raced in the early years but perhaps the most famous was Ethel Flock Mobley, the sister of Tim, Fonty and Bob Flock.

According to the www.livinglegendsofautoracing.com website, she raced in more than 100 events. One of her best races was in 1949 in Daytona where she finished 11th, ahead of her three brothers and other notable drivers such as Herb Thomas, Curtis Turner, Marshall Teague and Buck Baker.

The race was also in the record books as the only time four siblings have been in the same race.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the daily. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com.