Before Danica Patrick, the last female race car driver of note in NASCAR was Shawna Robinson, the second woman to race in the Daytona 500.
Robinson retired from racing a decade ago and moved on to a successful career as an interior designer. She didn’t forget her racing roots – nor did the racing world forget her.
Robinson’s link to the racing world has been a significant source of inspiration and help to the 50-year-old Robinson, who has battled breast cancer for the past 14 months.
In a touching and compelling story, veteran NASCAR writer Deb Williams tells Robinson’s tale on ESPN-W.
“It’s made me so grateful for having the people around me that I have,” Robinson said. “I think it’s made me appreciate life so much because you never know when it’s not going to be there. You have to take advantage of every day you have and make the most of it.”
Several racers or racing-related folks became clients of Robinson and her interior design prowess, including Ryan and Krissie Newman, Martin Truex Jr. and girlfriend Sherry Pollex, Ray and Erin Evernham and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller.
And now they’re helping her in her battle and to get back on her feet.
“She’s been a dear friend of mine over the last 15 years,” Earnhardt Miller said of Robinson. “I feel blessed to have known her and to know her like I do. She has such a big heart that I just wanted to be there for her.”
Robinson is moving from aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy to maintenance treatment, meaning her cancer has begun to go into remission.
While she enjoyed some success in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and had eight starts in the Sprint Cup circuit, the Des Moines, Iowa, native was more prolific during her time racing in the ARCA Series. In 27 starts, she had five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes.
Click here to read Williams’ inspiring story on Robinson, her battle and how friendships forged more than a decade ago in the racing world remain strong today.