If you don’t know who she is or haven’t heard the name, don’t worry, you will.
We get asked on a fairly regular basis about the prospects for a female racer to break into the upper levels of NASCAR, and I thought I would take this opportunity to point out a very promising young shoe.
On Saturday night, while most of you were probably tuned into the Cup race at Chicago, Long was making her debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Iowa Speedway. The 17 year old from Pensacola, FL was fast off the truck and qualified the Venturini Motorsports Chevy seventh. She ran in the top ten early before she was caught up in a wreck, but did manage to soldier on to finish 23rd. With her performance, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more ARCA starts for her before the season is out.
Long, daughter of former All-Pro Series driver Donald Long, has made waves over the last couple of years driving late models in the Southeast. At the age of 15 she won the Pro Late Model track championship at Five Flags Speedway in Florida and became the youngest champion and the first female champion in the track’s history.
So far this season, Long has three wins, including two in the Blizzard Series at Five Flags and currently sits third in the points for the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship. She has also run races in the PASS South Tour and the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour.
On top of her on track success, Johanna was recently “drafted” number one in Speed 51’s 2009 Short Track Draft: The Underclassmen. She was chosen the number one prospect under 18 by a panel of 24 judges from around the short track racing world. Not bad for a girl.
While a shot at a ride in a NASCAR series may still be a few years off, the future looks to be bright for Long. She is obviously a talented young driver and she’s got plenty of help and resources behind her. So for those of you looking for a female driver to get behind, don’t worry, they are out there.