Hillary Will has two career NHRA wins and made six final rounds. In 2008, she earned her first career victory, at Topeka, becoming the 11th female to win a pro race in series history. She also earned a pair of runner-up finishes and finished a career-best fourth in the Full Throttle Series points standings.
Ana Beatriz ran a partial schedule as she made her initial foray into the IndyCar Series in 2010 before becoming a full-time driver a season later. She is the first woman in history to win an Indy Lights Series (the IndyCar Series’ feeder league) event, which she did in 2008 and again in 2009.
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Jennifer Jo Cobb is a NASCAR driver running in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. She has also run a limited schedule in ARCA and has competed in Nationwide Series events. Cobb also has started her own fashion endeavor, driverboutique.com, to fund her effort as a Truck series owner/driver through her fashion lines. Cobb finished 17th in the 2010 Truck series to become the top finishing female in one of the top three NASCAR series standings.
Amber Cope (right, with her twin sister Angela) began racing at a young age. The niece of former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Derrike Cope, she competed in Late Models and a handful of ARCA races before running a limited series of races in NASCAR. She competed in a Camping World Truck Series race in 2010 to spark her NASCAR career. Since then, she has competed not only in that series, but also in the Nationwide ranks.
Cope has been working to make her mark in premier racing series in recent years. She and her twin sister, Amber, started racing at a young age. After running in Late Model and ARCA events, Angela moved into NASCAR. She made one Camping World Truck Series start in 2010 and has since begun to add Nationwide Series races to her resume as well.
Simona De Silvestro
Simona De Silvestro made her IZOD IndyCar Series debut in 2010, finishing 19th in her first season. A native of Switzerland, she placed third in the Atlantic Championship in 2009, earning four wins and nine podium finishes in 12 starts. In addition, she led a series-best 172 laps. De Silvestro won the rookie honor at the 2010 Indianapolis 500.
DeJoria is making a name for herself in the NHRA Top Fuel dragster ranks. She already has wins and final four appearances to her credit as she continues to make her way through the ranks. She earned her Funny Car license in 2010 and won her first Alcohol Funny Car event.
Maryeve Dufault has competed in a variety of open-wheel series, including the Pro Mazda Star Series and the Formula BMW USA as well as the ARCA Series for Tony Marks Racing. She has also worked as a stunt double when not racing on a track.
Milka Duno competed in Grand-Am and ARCA among other series before heading to IndyCar in 2007. Duno was only the third female driver to start an IndyCar race when she debuted in 2007 and competed in three Indy 500s. She’s more than just a racer, though. Duno is a naval engineer with four master’s degrees and has published a book for young children on the impact of an education.
Erica Enders is focused on a career in the NHRA ranks. In 2006, she gained attention when she became the first woman to qualify No. 1 in Pro Stock and was also the runner-up at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Enders began drag racing at 8 and earned 37 Junior Dragster wins in eight years of competition. In 2003, her life was chronicled in the Disney movie, “Right on Track.”
Force joins her famous father, John Force, in the NHRA Funny Car ranks in 2012. No stranger to the series, she won in the Top Alcohol class in 2009 at the Northwest Nationals in Seattle. That season she was also runner-up at the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif. Force has a degree in communications from Cal State-Fullerton.
Jill George is a diverse racer whose schedule includes World of Outlaws and Dirt Late Model events. She also debuted in ARCA in 2010. A former collegiate athlete, George is balancing multiple careers as both a racer and a chiropractor in her family practice.
Henderson has pretty much been racing all her life and this year has made starts in the ARCA Series. She has also been involved in a road test for the Grand-Am series in recent years. She has competed in Late Models, legends and bandoleros, winning at each level, and in 2010 was awarded the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award.
Katherine Legge has patiently worked her way through the ranks to land in the IndyCar Series, where she now drives for Dragon Racing. She was the first woman to win a Toyota Atlantic Championship race (2005) and also the first to race full time in the Champ Car Series the following season. She was the first woman to compete full time in the Champ Car World Series (2006). Now, she’s looking to make her mark in the IndyCar ranks.
Getty ImagesAndy Lyons
Johanna Long debuted in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2010, running a limited schedule for Billy Ballew Motorsports, then drove for Panhandle Motorsports in 2011. Prior to NASCAR, Long competed in a variety of series. In 2009 alone, she raced in American Speed Association, Pro Late Model and Pro All Stars Series events and earned five victories in 38 races. Her performance included 27 top-10 finishes, 17 of which were top fives. She won the Blizzard Series championship in Pensacola, as well as the Gulf Coast championship covering Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola. She also won the PLM championship at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola in 2008. In 2012, she is moving full time in to the Nationwide Series.
Another British Pippa plans to capture the spotlight -- this time in racing. Pippa Mann of Conquest Racing became the first British woman to race in the Indianapolis 500 in 2011. Mann was fifth in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights Series in a season in which she earned her first series win.
Leilani Munter is currently competing in the ARCA series, but she’s a veteran of several levels of competition. Among her accomplishments is becoming the fourth woman in history to compete in the Indy Pro Series, the developmental league of IndyCar, and she has parlayed her racing success into a career that includes public speaking and ecological work. Munter is active in more than just racing, though. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California-San Diego and, according to her website, purchases an acre of endangered rainforest for every race she runs to offset her carbon footprint.
Alli Owens began competing in quarter midgets; then, at the age of 13, moved into the Dirt Pure Stock Division at Florida's Volusia Speedway Park. She won twice in her first season and has been moving through the ranks and garnering wins and top performances since. She moved up to ARCA in 2008 and ran the full slate in 2010. She finished ninth in her third start of the season and ran among the leaders late in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. She took a break in 2011, but is back to ARCA in 2012.
Danica Patrick is one of the most recognizable racers in the world, due to both her accomplishments on the track and her ad campaigns and appearances off it. After balancing being a full-time competitor in the IZOD IndyCar Series with a ride as a part-time driver in the Nationwide Series, she made the leap full time to NASCAR in 2012. Patrick made her first IndyCar start in 2005 and earned her first series victory in April 2008 in Japan, becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar race. Now, she'll compete in the Nationwide ranks while making her debut in the Sprint Cup Series.
Melanie Troxel has helped women break into a new level of competition throughout her career. She was only the second woman to win in the NHRA’s Funny Car division, racing to victory just two races after Ashley Force Hood did. That was in 2008, her first year of directly competing against her husband, Tommy Johnson Jr., after moving up from Top Fuel. She has seven career wins and 20 final-round appearances.
Racing is in Chrissy Wallace's blood: Her father Mike and uncles Rusty and Kenny all are accomplished NASCAR drivers. She competed in both NASCAR and ARCA in 2010, plus the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series. She also became the first woman to race against her father in NASCAR when both competed in the Nationwide series race at Talladega. Wallace earned her place in history in 2011, becoming the first female to win an ASA Late Model track championship, which she did at Lebanon I-44 Speedway, and also the first female regional champion when she took the ASA West Region title.