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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 10839813 We've got the power We%27ve+got+the+power NASCAR

While many view NASCAR as a man’s sport, the fact is that women have been taking a number of high-profile positions in racing over the years. With roles in officiating the sport, team ownership, and driving and operating the companies within the sport, women are influencing the shape and direction of NASCAR more now than ever.

Rea White takes a look at women who are helping the sport as it heads into a new decade.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 31595690 Lesa France Kennedy Lesa+France+Kennedy NASCAR

Kennedy, the daughter of the late Bill France Jr., is the vice chairwoman and executive vice president of NASCAR as well as the CEO of International Speedway Corp. The sister of NASCAR CEO Brian France, she has worked more with ISC, the owner and operator of 12 tracks that host Sprint Cup races annually. She is helping shape the future NASCAR schedule as ISC works to add tracks to the Cup schedule or move dates, such as it did to  put a second race at Kansas Speedway.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 10839860 Danica Patrick Danica+Patrick NASCAR

Patrick’s decision to move to NASCAR full time has created a media and fan frenzy. Patrick, a full-time competitor in the Izod IndyCar Series from 2005-2011, and a full-time Nationwide Series competitor in 2012, has moved to the Sprint Cup ranks in 2013. She will compete full time for Stewart-Haas Racing and contend for the Rookie of the Year. Think attention is focused on her? Just look at the reaction to her every move - on and off the track.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 10839817 Kelley Earnhardt-Miller Kelley+Earnhardt-Miller NASCAR

Earnhardt-Miller is the co-owner of the NASCAR Nationwide Series JR Motorsports organization which will field two entries this season. The organization has grown into one of the most competitive non-Cup affiliated groups in the series and once brought Brad Keselowski to prominence. She is savvy in licensing, marketing and working with sponsors, all elements that have helped JR Motorsports gain ground quickly in the series. She also oversees the management team for brother Dale Earnhardt Jr., and brought Danica Patrick to NASCAR full time.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 21290254 Alba Colon Alba+Colon NASCAR

Colon is the face of General Motors to many in NASCAR. She joined the manufacturer in 1994 as a mechanical engineer. The manufacturer hired her after four years of competing in the Formula SAE program, where she built race cars and exhibited them. She began with GM as a data acquisition engineer for the Oval Track Group (which then was comprised of what is now NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Truck and American Speed Association programs). She has worked her way up to her current role as NASCAR Sprint Cup Program Manager for General Motors and Chevrolet and will be in the spotlight even more this season as the sport transitions to new entries for 2013.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 31595691 Gillian Zucker Gillian+Zucker NASCAR

Zucker is the fourth track president in the history of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and the first female president of a track that hosts Sprint Cup races. Zucker is responsible for multiple aspects of the track's operation, including marketing, public relations, ticketing, and accounting. She is active in the local community and is working to develop a series of improvements at the facility.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 29705711 Jamie DiPietro Jamie+DiPietro+ NASCAR

DiPietro is an 11-year veteran of the NASCAR officials crew and has taken on increasingly important roles during her career as a NASCAR inspector. In 2010, she moved up in the ranks and into NASCAR's most crucial area. These days, she works as manager of safety inspections.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 10839819 DeLana Harvick DeLana+Harvick NASCAR

Harvick and her husband spent years as the co-owners of Kevin Harvick Inc. The organization successfully fielded entries in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck and Nationwide series. Her father, John Paul Linville, was a racer so she naturally moved into a career in the sport. She began as a public relations representative and then, in 2002, formed KHI with her driver husband Kevin. With driver Ron Hornaday, the organization won two Truck championships and overall it amassed 43 Truck and 10 Nationwide wins. DeLana may not be a team owner this year, but she's still a force in the sport. Through her example on pit road, her marketing savvy and her role with the Kevin Harvick Foundation, she remains a woman whose opinion matters in NASCAR.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 21295129 Teresa Earnhardt Teresa+Earnhardt NASCAR

Earnhardt has been a force in NASCAR for years. The widow of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, she partnered with Earnhardt in the building of Dale Earnhardt Inc., which became a successful NASCAR organization. She trademarked Earnhardt’s image and signature and has worked diligently to carry on his legacy in the sport. As a car owner, she won four Nationwide Series titles – in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2005, as well as Camping World Truck titles in 1996 and 1997. She was at the helm for Cup victories with DEI and remains in the sport as a co-owner after merging with Chip Ganassi’s team to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, a combination which won the prestigious Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 races in 2010.

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NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 30647513 Jennifer Jo Cobb Jennifer+Jo+Cobb+ NASCAR

In a NASCAR era when being an owner/driver is increasingly difficult, Cobb is pulling off the feat in two series. She owns both a Nationwide and Camping World Truck series team and often drives her own equipment. Cobb is a savvy marketing professional -- securing her own sponsorship -- who brings her own style and ethics to the sport. In 2011, she walked away from a potential ride with another owner when she was asked to start-and-park the entry. Cobb refused to do less than compete to her best and turned away from the opportunity. She finished 17th in the Truck series in 2010, the top points finish ever for a female NASCAR driver in the sport's top three national touring series. In addition, Cobb created the Driver 2 Honor promotion recognizing women in the military.

Jennifer Stewart - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/02/07/020712_NASCAR_Nationwide_Series_Jennifer_Jo_Cobb_g+_20120207121940900_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/02/07/020712_NASCAR_Nationwide_Series_Jennifer_Jo_Cobb_g+_20120207121940900_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 2260 Most powerful women in NASCAR 21295130 Krissie Newman Krissie+Newman NASCAR

Newman has taken the lead on driver foundations in the sport. She and her husband, Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman, created the Ryan Newman Foundation and have worked to aid animals and children through a variety of projects. Chief among them are the annual “Pit Road Pets” book featuring NASCAR celebrities and their animals and the creation of a spay and neuter clinic in their region of North Carolina. The foundation also works on conservation projects and provides scholarship funding for individuals pursuing a career in racing.

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