Pippa Mann Warns Of The Danger Of A Handmaid's Series

Brian Spurlock, USA Today 20170620_PippaMann_USA_Brian Spurlock.jpg

By Victoria Beaver

After voicing her concerns on Twitter this week, Pippa Mann has released a full blog post warning against a proposal from a group in Europe trying to fund and field an all-woman racing league. In her post, the British racer compared the proposal to the dystopian society in the Margaret Atwood novel "The Handmaid's Tale," which is also a hit TV show on Hulu.

By concentrating funding for female racers on a separate series, Mann believes it would create an easy way to box women out of their current series.

"Just as the twisted society of Gilead in 'The Handmaid's Tale' is desperate to sell itself as a real solution to the problems of that imagined 21st century, the ring masters of this travesty are desperate to sell themselves as the solution needed to the sponsorship struggles faced by so many female drivers," she wrote. 

"Stripping away our identity as racers and forcing us into segregation is not empowerment. Oppression masquerading as opportunity is still oppression."

Mann got her start in karts before relocating to America and working up to the IndyCar series through Indy Lights. She was the eighth woman to qualify for the Indy 500 in 2011 and the only woman in the field this year.

Due to the nature of the sport, racing is one of the few places that men and women can compete equally on the field. There is no women's tee or handicap at the tracks. And everyone weighs the same behind the wheel.

As recently as the 1950s, there have been major female-only races run alongside main events at tracks such as Watkins Glen. Local tracks still have powderpuff races, and NASCAR still runs a "Better Half Dash" alongside the fall Charlotte race each year. Unlike the newly proposed series, those events don't mask themselves as an opportunity for struggling professional female drivers.

If this league found the traction that it needs to start running, it could be running as early as this fall. In order to stop this from gaining further traction, Mann has taken to social media to encourage the online racing community to join #TheResitance and support female racers. She asks female racers to post photos of their accomplishments, their podiums, and their wins -- every time they've gone out on their respective tracks and proved themselves against the boys.

"As female racers, we are racers first, and our gender comes second," Mann wrote. "We grew up dreaming of winning races, and winning championships, against everyone -- the same as every male racer does. We did not grow up dreaming of being segregated and winning the girl's-only cup." 

Through FloRacing's "Women in Racing" series, we have had the pleasure to talk to two women who have touring championships under their belts. Morgan Turpen captured the USCS National Sprint Car championship two years in a row and is primed to add her third straight with eight wins so far this season.

(Amy Ruman has two Trans-Am championships under her belt; photo by Greg Clark Photography.)

Amy Ruman also has back-to-back championships under her belt in Trans Am.

"I don't think it's easy for anyone to get started in racing. It's so expensive and there's money involved and egos involved," Ruman said. "I think you have to be good at what you do and if you prove that and someone believes in you, you catch their eye."

While winnings help to keep teams funded and on the track, they are not the whole picture. In order to continue racing, every driver has to fight to find and keep sponsorship, a difficult task that forces many racers to quit before they even really get started. This will make the all-girls league appealing to some, a way to stay on the track when it looks like there isn't another option.

And therein lies part of the problem. 

Racing is a sport that requires a complete package of skills on and off the track. This is a lesson Lyn St James is teaching prospective racers in Project Podium, a grant opportunity that matches funding for female racers up to $10,000 and more importantly helps train female drivers how to be aggressive in finding funding and sponsorship going forward. She's a perfect example of what good can come out of women helping women and passing the baton. This series first featured McKenna Hasse, who benefited from a grant back when she was 16 and who became the first female racer to win at the famed Knoxville Raceway.

The 2017 class of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity includes two female racers, Macy Causey and Madeline Crane. This program has been a way to help women and minorities break into the sport since 2004 and was also used as a stepping stone for Natalie Decker. Here too, women race alongside men in head-to-head competition.

All of this excitement fell at the start of 2017's Women's Sport Week and should be seen as a reminder that even though great strides have been made in racing and sports in general, a backslide is always possible if we stop paying attention.

After all, the Republic of Gilead was not built in a day.

Women in Racing

Loni Unser 
Amy Ruman 
Natalie Decker 
Tammy Kaehler 
Hanna Zellers 
Lyn St. James | Project Podium 
Morgan Turpen 
Ahnna Parkhurst 
Amber Balcaen 
Sarah Cornett-Ching 

Harli White’s First Full Season Provides Building Blocks For 2018

Harli White, Facebook 20171123_Harli White.JPG

 By Victoria Beaver

Fastrak Decides On New Format For 2018

Fastrak 20171122_Fastrak.jpg

Last week at Screven Motor Complex in Sylvania, GA, Fastrak Founder Stan Lester stood at the back of the technical hauler and thanked the drivers for a great season. He also gave them credit for making a new format a success.

USMTS Announces A Tighter 2018 Schedule

Tyler Rinken Productions, USMTS 20171122_USMTS_-Tyler Rinken.jpg

By Race Chapman

Record-breaking cash payouts are enticing drivers for the 20th anniversary of the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) season, and it is sure to make competition for the 2018 championship title fierce.

An Exhibitor’s Guide To Trade Shows

Pperformanceracing.com 20171121_Trade Show 3_-performanceracing-com.jpg

By Jonathon Masters

Previously, we spoke about the do's and do not's of attending race industry trade shows both as a racer and as a non-exhibiting company. The last group on our list of entities that make trade shows successful is the exhibitors — the companies that spend the time and money to display their products and services to the race industry for 2-3 days at trade shows across the country.

Travis Rilat Extends Winning Streak To 23 Years

Ron Skinner Photos, Inside Line Promotions 20171121_Travis Rilat-Ron Skinner A.jpg

Travis Rilat has won at least one race per season since he first climbed into a sprint car in 1995.

Two Nights Of Racing In Georgia See Five Winners

20171120_Dillon Brown.jpg

Two nights of racing at Screven Motor Complex witnessed five winners in the Ultimate Super Late Model and Fastrak series as a national audience focused its attention on FloRacing’s live stream from Sylvania, GA, this past weekend.

Brady Bacon Wins The Battle; Spencer Bayston Wins The War At Bakersfield

USACRacing.com 20171120_Brady Bacon_-USACRacing-com.jpg

Brady Bacon charged from seventh place to win the November Classic in his first trip to Bakersfield (CA) Speedway on Saturday.

Jamie Ball Joins The ASCS National Tour In 2018

Troy L. Hugen, Inside Line Promotions 20171119_Jamie Ball_ILP.jpg

Racers often take a traditional route to the top: They begin running at their local track, tour regionally, and then join a national sanction. In 2018, Jamie Ball will take the next step in his career when he and White Lightning Motorsports join the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series full-time to run for Rookie of the Year honors.

Live Updates: Georgia State Outlaw Championships Night 2

FloRacing IMG_0591.JPG

Bookmark this page for LIVE updates of Night 2 of the Georgia State Outlaw Nationals.

World Of Outlaw Sprints Heads Into 40th Season

@WorldofOutlaws, Twitter 20170621_GraniteCity_WorldofOutlaws_Twitter.jpg

The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series has announced their 2018 schedule and it includes a combination of iconic races, new tracks, and courses that have not been run in several years.