Marcum's Influence Still Strong; ARCA Included in Women in the Winner's Circle Celebration at Indianapolis Motor Speedway INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (July 23, 2009)--At 95 years old, ARCA Matriarch Mildred Marcum is still making a difference in ...
Marcum's Influence Still Strong; ARCA Included in Women in the Winner's Circle Celebration at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (July 23, 2009)--At 95 years old, ARCA Matriarch Mildred Marcum is still making a difference in professional motor sports.
Her influence stretches far beyond ARCA's Temperance, Michigan Home Office, to reach aspiring young female racecar drivers, crew members, officials, media personalities and business women on a national scope. Marcum's legacy was especially visible on Thursday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where a special presentation of the Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award took center stage at the seventh annual Lyn St. James' Women in the Winner's Circle Celebration.
The Award, named after Marcum, is designed to honor those who represent what it takes to be successful in racing: show up, work hard, love what you're doing, and be the best at what you do. Marcum has exhibited those qualities for the duration of her career. She worked as a NASCAR official alongside the France family in the 1940s and 50s before starting ARCA as a Midwest-based auto racing sanctioning body with her husband John in 1953. Mildred, at 95 years old, still works at the ARCA Home Office on a daily basis with her daughter Susie Drager and grandson Ron Drager.
Mildred was the first ever recipient of the Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award in 2005. Other former recipients include NASCAR drivers Sara Christian and Louise Smith, who were among the first female racers in NASCAR history, the late Barbara Parks, who co-founded the NHRA alongside her husband Wally Parks, and journalist/author/racing driver Denise McCluggage. This year's honoree was the late Gertrude Crain, Chair Emeritus of Crain Communication, Inc. Gertrude's son Keith Crain accepted the award on behalf of his mother.
At age 85, Gertrude retired from Crain Communications after having spent 40 years with the publishing company that was founded by her husband, G.D. Crain, Jr. in 1916. Throughout her career, she was nationally recognized for her visionary spirit and her publishing industry leadership, including being named "1990 Woman of the Year" by Today's Chicago Woman magazine and being recognized as one of the top 60 business owners in the country by Savvy magazine. In 1993, she was awarded the Magazine Publishers of America prestigious Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the magazine industry's highest honor.
Gertrude Crain had a love of the automobile industry-particularly racing. She rode around Lowe's Motor Speedway with NASCAR Star Tim Richmond in 1986 and after climbing out of the specially-designed two-seat racecar, asked Richmond, "What are you doing next week?!"
This year's Women in the Winner's Circle celebration focused on the key themes of respect, hope, opportunity and preparation-critical factors that will lead to greater recognition and success for women in the motorsports industry. Close to 30 female drivers were included in the Awards portion of the celebration, including the ARCA RE/MAX Series' Alli Owens. Owens, who is in her second year of ARCA RE/MAX Series competition, boasts a career-best finish of sixth at Talladega Superspeedway this past April, among two top-10 finishes and an outside-pole qualifying run at Daytona Int'l Speedway in February of 2009.
Owens is one of several female drivers who have competed in the ARCA RE/MAX Series since its inception in 1953. Others include Christi Passmore, Gabi DiCarlo, Patty Simko, Shawna Robinson, Erin Crocker, Karla Lampe, Deborah Renshaw, Laura Lane, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Patty Moise, Michelle Theriault, Tina Gordon, Kim Crosby, Amber Cope, Angela Cope, Ashley Parlett, Sunny Hobbs, Amanda Gogel, Shari Minter, Amber Koch, Chrissy Wallace and Johanna Long, among others.
Founded in 1994 by Lyn St. James, the Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on worldwide activities and programs for driver development, advocacy, diversity and education, particularly for women who aspire to become race car drivers.