In response to: “Pit Lizards: An Oral History of Racing’s Wildest Subculture.”
I may be putting a target on my back by writing this, but I have never been one to hold back my opinion, so I guess why start now? It has been some time since I have written anything, nationally published or even for my own blog, but this one is worth sitting down for.
I want to preface this by saying this is not to shame the author of the original piece, find that here:
Actually, I would like to thank him for opening the door to have this conversation respectfully. This is not to argue any point made, only to add on because I do not think that piece even brushed the surface.
First off, the term is obnoxiously overused. I am not denying that there are plenty of not-so-secret (or sometimes even not-so-true) sexual and/or romantic things that go on behind the scenes of this “racing world.” (I call it that because that is what it is.) We are in our own little bubble, closely resembling a high school, that stretches from Pennsylvania to New York to North Carolina and California and Tennessee and Indiana and everywhere in between. Each of these “cliques” have their own set of popular kids or outcasts or nobodies. Each has their rumors that go back 10 years or 10 days ago. The thing about the 21st century as well, is that everyone is connected with someone who knows someone who knows someone’s cousin in some way, so basically everyone is in your business. This interconnectedness may bring us lifelong friendships we would not have otherwise, but it also never allows you to live down literally any choice you have made in the past, good or bad. No one is perfect.
Each and every single woman in motorsports is here for a reason larger than to chase race car drivers. EACH AND EVERY WOMAN. Some are a racer’s daughter or sister. Some are mothers or aunts. Some are wives and girlfriends (which we all know is not a glamorous thing. It’s either never seeing your significant other or spending long nights in the shop with them). Some even drive the race cars themselves!
I can personally name hundreds of kick-ass women in this sport that add SO much to it. There are some incredibly intelligent women that work in the media of motorsports, promoting it, producing it, writing about it, making those flashy graphics you share. There are some outstandingly beautiful and outgoing women that may run in a beauty pageant and add some grace and beauty to this gritty and grimy sport.
I have a pretty good feeling that those people over using the term “pit lizard” when talking about some of these women would be the FIRST to notice their absence if they were no longer giving their talents and beauty to this sport every single week.
I can not think of one single woman, no matter when or how she came to know and love racing, that is in it for shallow reasons. Just like you love racing, so do we. It is a common and shared passion we all have, so let’s start the groundwork of respect there. I am tired of seeing women being made fun of for being confident even if she is heavier or does not fit your standards of beauty. I am tired of women feeling unwelcome at the track just because you never had a chance with her. I have even personally been called an “impossible burger” and a pit lizard because that person thought I was uglier than someone else. Luckily it is hard to hurt my feelings, but I know that is not the case for every woman. I’m tired of it.
Quite honestly, it isn’t very funny anymore. At one point it was a funny term used every so often… but now I think I hear it every day. No one is laughing with you if you’re still calling respectable women names. Dating someone in racing that shares a passion and lifestyle with you does not make someone a groupie or a racer chaser. Frankly, it doesn’t make them anything other than a woman in motorsports. Shut up.