Julia Landauer

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NASCAR Next grad Julia Landauer to race full-time in NASCAR Euro Series

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Former NASCAR Next graduate Julia Landauer will race full-time in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2020, it was announced Monday.

The 28-year-old New York City native will drive for PK Carsport in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship and hopes to be the first female champion in the series.

“My goal for 2020 was to find a series that I could race full-time in,” Landauer said in a media release. “A few people told me about the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and how competitive and fun the series is, so I did research and thought it would be an awesome series to race in.

“I’m really excited to race on road courses all over Europe and I liked how the car handled in the Recruitment Day. My goal is to run up front, win races, and contend for the championship. And to have a lot of fun. There are so many great tracks. I’m particularly excited for Valencia and the oval in The Netherlands.”

During 2018 and 2019, Landauer made nine starts on NASCAR’s Canadian circuit, the Pinty’s Series, earning one top-10 finish. In 2016 and 2017, she made 28 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, earning eight top-five and 20 top-10 finishes.

A 2014 graduate of Stanford University with a degree in Science, Technology and Society, Landauer became the first woman to win a NASCAR Track Championship at Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series in 2015.

Belgium-based PK Carsport has been one of the most successful teams in the Euro Series, winning a total of 29 races, including two EuroNASCAR PRO championships (both won by team owner Anthony Kumpen behind the wheel), as well as two EuroNASCAR 2 titles with Maxime Dumarey and Stienes Longin.

“(Julia is) a very talented driver, she proved she can deliver very good results and that’s exactly what we want at PK Carsport: to race at the front with both our cars in both NWES championships,” Kumpen said. “Expectations will be high for her and we’ll do our best to help her become the first woman to win a NWES championship.”

The NASCAR Euro Series opens on April 25-26 at Valencia, Spain.

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Friday 5: How soon until the next female driver arrives in Cup?

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Danica Patrick’s departure after the Daytona 500 (provided she secures a ride for that race) will leave NASCAR without a female driver in its top series.

It could be years before the next female driver arrives in Cup.

Only two of the 114 drivers who attempted to qualify for an Xfinity race last year were female — Angela Ruch ran four races and Jennifer Jo Cob ran one. Cobb was the only female driver among 103 who attempted to qualify for a Camping World Truck Series race last season.

The last four NASCAR Next classes — which spotlights talented young competitors — featured four female drivers among the 44 racers selected. Those female drivers chosen: Kenzie Ruston (2014-15 class), Nicole Behar (2015-16), Julia Landauer (2016-17) and Hailie Deegan (2017-18).

The 16-year-old Deegan will run the K&N West Pro Series schedule for Bill MacAnally Racing, which has won the past three K&N West titles.

Landauer finished seventh in the points last year in the K&N West Series (after placing fourth in 2016) and Behar was eighth in her second full-time season in that series.

In ARCA, Natalie Decker will run the full season with Venturini Motorsports. She stands to become the fifth female in modern-day ARCA history to compete for a driver’s title, joining Shawna Robinson (2000), Christi Passmore (2003-04), Milka Duno (2013) and Sarah Cornett-Ching (2015).

Former champion crew chief Ray Evernham understands the challenges female drivers face. His wife, Erin, competed in 10 Xfinity races from 2005-06 and 29 Camping World Truck races between 2005-08.

“I think that we’ve got to keep providing opportunities for girls to get that experience,’’ said Evernham, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 19.

“Now with the technology of the cars, the way they’re doing the setups, things like that, it will make it a little bit easier for newer people to come in. But we’ve just got to continue to provide an opportunity or a path for ladies to get experience.

Just as important will be how well they’ll handle the scrutiny.

“I know it stinks that so many people are so critical of lady drivers, much more critical than they are of a male driver of the same performance,’’ Evernham said. “Each time one of those girls weathers that storm, gets a little bit further down the road, gets some credibility, it gets a lady closer to Victory Lane in NASCAR.’’

NASCAR lists 16 women who have competed in at least one Cup race from Louise Smith, Sara Christian and Ethel Mobley in 1949 to Patrick. Patrick’s 190 career Cup starts are more than the other 15 women combined. Janet Guthrie was next with 33 starts between 1976-80 and followed by Smith with 11 starts from 1949-52 and Robinson, who had eight starts from 2001-02.

Patrick and Robinson are the only females to run a Cup race since 1990.

NASCAR lists 22 females having competed in the Xfinity Series. Patty Moise started 133 races, more than any other driver.  Patrick and Robinson are next with 61 starts each, followed by Johanna Long (42 starts) and Jennifer Jo Cobb (29 starts).

2. “The Great American Race”

The phrase has long been used as the nickname for the Daytona 500, but where did it originate?

Australia.

True story.

Let Ken Squier, who will be among the five men inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 19, explain how he came up with the phrase for the race.

“Well, (Bill) France Sr. had me (in Daytona) from the ’60s.  Daytona always stood out separately, individually, for one thing, the time of year, because most race tracks in America were closed. 

“It was the gathering of the tribes in Daytona Beach, which went all the way back to the turn of the century, when Henry Ford, the Chevrolet brothers, all of that tribe went down there.  They raced down that hard‑packed beach. That never stopped.  One way or another, they continued to go down there in the month of February and toast a few of their friends from the past and turn some wheels.

“That spirit of Daytona is more prevalent than any other when you talk about tracks and parts of the country. In my mind, it needed something that set it aside. Indianapolis was always the greatest spectacle in sports. Indeed, it was.

“But what was Daytona? Well, it was All‑American stock cars in those days, and pretty much the neighbors sounded like your neighbors, particularly if you came from a small town. What would come to mind? I fooled around with that for a long time.

“I was in Australia doing a show. They had a great race over there. It was a long one, it was a dinger, and it was a national holiday. On the way home, I thought, God, that’s what Daytona is. It’s ‘The Great American Race.’

“I got chewed up pretty good about that. Hadn’t I ever heard of Indy? I sure as the dickens had. This was coming from a different place. Sure enough in 1959, when those three cars came across wheel‑to‑wheel at the end of 500 miles, that was The Great American Race.’’

3. Revamped pit stops

Martin Truex Jr. was asked this week about his thoughts on the changes to pit road with five people going over the wall to service the car instead of six this season.

Truex had an interesting take on what pit crew position might grow in importance with the change.

“I think there’s a lot of question marks from all teams, and I know there’s a lot of talk throughout teams and in the industry of how much different it is,’’ he said during a break in the Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “Everybody is going to think they have a handle on it and then somebody is going to do it different on pit road and whip everybody’s butt in Daytona, so then you’re going to have to re-learn everything and try and figure it out.

“From what I understand, it’s been really difficult. A lot of the weight falls on the jackman as far as making the stops go fast and when all that pressure gets put on one position it makes that one position really important and really different than it’s been in the past.’’

4. Las Vegas test

NASCAR has an organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. That means that one team per organization is permitted at the test.

Among those scheduled to test are William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports), Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Brad Keselowski (Team Penske), Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing).

5. January racing

While the return of NASCAR can’t come soon enough for many, did you know the last time the Cup Series raced in January was 1981? Bobby Allison won at Riverside, California. That was the season-opening race and the Daytona 500 followed. Riverside opened the Cup season from 1970-81.

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NASCAR Next’s Hailie Deegan to race in K&N West for Bill McAnally Racing

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Hailie Deegan, the only female member of the current NASCAR Next class and daughter of X-Games athlete Brian Deegan, will compete in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West this season for Bill McAnally Racing, the team announced Wednesday.

Deegan, 16, earned the ride after taking part in a series of test sessions with the team and Toyota late in 2017.

Deegan will drive the No. 19 Mobil 1 / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota and joins teammates Cole Rouse and the returning Derek Kraus.

Todd Gilliland, who won the last two K&N West titles for the team, will compete in the Camping World Truck Series.

Deegan is the only announced female driver for the series this year after two, Julia Landauer and Nicole Behar, competed in it last year. They finished the season seventh and eighth.

The native of Temecula, California, also will race in select K&N East events.

“I’m really excited,” Deegan said in a press release. “This is the best team and equipment in the series. BMR has been great to work with. I look forward to racing at a high level on the East and West Coasts with the top team. We are ready to put in the work to continue being a serious competitor.

“It will be exciting to be part of the K&N Series. It’s been a great building ground for a lot of successful NASCAR drivers. It’s a big step.”

On her Twitter profile, Deegan declares, “I want to follow in the footsteps of my Dad.”

Brian Deegan has won the most Freestyle Motocross medals in X Games history with 10. He has multiple championships in the Lucas Oil Pro 2 and Lucas Oil Pro Lite series.

Hailie Deegan began off-road racing when she was 8 and became the first female to win a race and a championship in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series.

In 2015, she was the Modified Kart Regional Champion and the next year was the Modified Kart National Champion as well as the Driver of the Year. In 2017, she was the first female in the Pro Lite division of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series to have multiple podiums in her rookie year.

Deegan took part in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity combine in 2016 and won the 2017 NASCAR Diversity Young Racer award.

She will seek to become the first woman to win a K&N title and a major NASCAR championship. If she does, it would give Bill McAnally Racing its fourth consecutive K&N West title and ninth overall.

“She’s a very talented driver, who brings with her a lot of energy and excitement,” McAnally said in a press release. “We look forward to being a big part of Hailie’s development as she takes this next step in her racing career. We anticipate great things ahead for everybody, including our partners and fans.”

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Harvick, Blaney, Suarez entered in Sonoma K&N West race next weekend

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Several NASCAR Cup drivers will take part in next weekend’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma Raceway, track officials announced Thursday.

Cup drivers competing in the June 24 Carneros 200 K&N race include Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez.

Ryan Blaney (Getty Images)

Harvick will drive the No. 4 for Jefferson Pitts Racing. It will be Harvick’s first K&N start since 2007 at Iowa, where he earned his seventh win in the series in 22 career starts.

“(I’m) going to be the old guy that shows up,” Harvick said in a media release. “I have fun when I go do those events. You’d love to win and you want to go out and do that obviously to be competitive; it’s just a series that gave me several breaks and several opportunities to showcase what I did as a kid.”

Harvick isn’t the only Cup driver who will be making his first K&N start in a long while. Blaney has just one prior West series start, but he made the most of it, winning at Phoenix in 2011.

Daniel Suarez (Getty Images)

Blaney, who earned his first Cup win Sunday at Pocono, will race with GCR Racing, while Suarez will race for MDM Motorsports in the team’s first K&N West start of the season. It will be Suarez’s first race in the K&N West since 2012 and his first overall K&N race (in the East Series) since 2014.

Among other notable names that will compete in the 64-lap Carneros 200 include up-and-coming drivers Todd Gilliland, Derek Kraus, Julia Landauer, Will Rodgers and Michael Self.

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NASCAR Next member Julia Landauer named to Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ sports list

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When Forbes announced its annual “30 Under 30” groups on Tuesday, there was one auto racing representative in its sports category.

It wasn’t Chase Elliott or Kyle Larson. It wasn’t any of the increasing number of young drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series or a driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series or Formula One.

The honor went to Julia Landauer, 25, a current member of the NASCAR Next program that highlights up and coming talent.

Landauer was named to the sports group, one of 20 categories, which Forbes says presents the “brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers.”

A native of New York City, Landauer is fresh off her first season in the K&N Pro Series West, where she finished fourth in the final standings for Bill McAnally Racing. She is the highest-placing female driver in series history. Two days after Forbes’ announcement, it was announced Landauer will drive the No. 6 Ford for Bob Bruncati in the 2017 K&N West season.

“I’m really excited to take all I learned in 2016 and make a run for the championship in 2017 with Bob [Bruncati] and the Sunrise Team,” Landauer said in a press release. “It was a privilege to race for Bill McAnally Racing last year and I’m grateful to get another opportunity to compete for a championship-winning team again in 2017.”

Joining Landauer on the Forbes list is Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.

With a less than 4 percent acceptance rate, Forbes claims its vetting process make it harder to be part of the “30 Under 30” group than it is to be accepted to Stanford University or Harvard. Landauer graduated from Stanford in 2014 with a degree from its science, technology and society program.

In December, Landauer was recognized by NASCAR as the top breakthrough driver in the K&N West.

Late last year, Landauer told NBC Sports what it’s been like developing her own brand, which has included giving a TEDx Talk and even appearing on “Survivor.”

“It’s great,” Landauer said. “Knowing that the work that I’ve done, the preparation that my family and I have done for 14 years now has value and creates excitement for other people is just fuel to the fire for making it bigger and better. It’s positive reinforcement that some capacity of what I’m doing is right and I just keeping running with it.”

MORE: NASCAR Next Q&A with Julia Landauer