Shawna Robinson has been climbing the ladder in stock cars and established a name for herself first in the NASCAR Busch series and then in the ARCA series. A major step was qualifying for a Winston Cup race. Robinson did just that at Michigan International Speedway in June. Prior to the opportunities this season, Robinson has been inching her way to the top via ARCA and the Busch series .
From our June MIS live report: Shawna Robinson will start her first Winston Cup race on Sunday, June 10 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). "This means everything to us (the team)", stated Robinson. "Michigan has always been a good track for me." In 2000, Robinson was the first female to win a pole (ARCA) at MIS.
Robinson made four attempts at qualifying for the Michael Kranefuss owned MK Racing Ford Taurus Winston Cup team during the 2001 season and failed to qualify at three of the four. She finished 34th at MIS.
BAM Racing has signed Robinson for the 2002 season. The Dodge team will be able to enter only 24 of the Winston Cup races due to lack of sponsorship for the year. That could change if they obtain a sponsor.
"I think I've been associated with NASCAR and racing for so many years that people know this isn't a fly-by-night thing," Robinson said. "It's not like I'm just showing up and saying I'm going to go racing.
"The owner, Beth Anne Morganthal, is really into racing and we put together a program to run a limited schedule next year," Robinson said. "My crew chief is Eddie Sharp and we're getting engines from Ernie Elliott.
In addition to the Cup attempts, Robinson also ran Michael Waltrip's Busch series car in three races when he was unable to due to his commitments in Winston Cup. Unfortunately, those commitments prevented her from running the full ARCA series after finishing sixth in the 2000 final points. Robinson was the first female to ever finish in the top-ten in the ARCA series.
"I wish I would have run a whole ARCA deal again last year," Robinson said. "We were competitive and I feel we could have been a contender for a championship. But, we decided to run the limited Winston Cup races instead.
"We felt the Cup races would get us more attention and attract a sponsor. It didn't work, well, it kind of did.
"Looking back I should have just done Michigan and stopped there. When I missed the race at Indy it was just the worst. It was tough to not doing anything after that.
"I should have run the ARCA race in Charlotte. But, you can't look back and say should have done, could have done.
"You just take what you learn and take it to next year. My goal for next year is to just be consistent and out there on a regular basis."
Robinson met Morganthal at a Winston West series event. The mother Robinson of two and married to Jeff Clark, a Winston Cup crewman, is Robinson looking forward to the 2002 season.
"I've had a lot of great support and there are so many people who wanted me to see me do better. It wasn't a great year for me, but with the opportunity I have for next year I think things will be a lot better."
"Both Eddie and I are fairly inexperienced which is kind of scary. But, we both realize what a great opportunity this is and are really looking forward to it."