News & Multimedia

Brickyard Pioneers: Where are They Now? Shawna Robinson

Note: This is the seventh of a series about drivers who competed in the early years of the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com who no longer compete regularly in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Danica Patrick will likely make a routine return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to drive a stock car for the first time at the legendary Brickyard, and she could be joined by Johanna Long in the Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday, July 28.

But Patrick and Long won’t be the first for a woman driver.

That honor belongs to Shawna Robinson, a Daytona 500 veteran from Des Moines, Iowa, who qualified at 11:33 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2001 at 171.966 mph, becoming the first woman ever to qualify a stock car at the historic 2 ½-mile oval.

Unfortunately, it was not fast enough to make the field for the eighth annual Brickyard 400.

“Tropicana gave us this chance,” Robinson said at the time. “We’ll focus on a full season next year. To try and compete at this level, it’s hard when you’re not running in anything else. A rookie driver and a rookie car, we did our best to get it done.”

The next year, she made the field at Daytona and drove a limited schedule until taking time off to start a family. She got back in the mix after that, but again was on a limited basis until retiring.

The Brickyard “first” was one of an array of firsts in her career, from ARCA to the Goody’s Dash Series to Busch/Nationwide to Cup. Robinson, now 47, got her start at a young age in the truck racing series spawned by her father, “Lefty,” who was also part of the Iowa group of drivers that included Don White, former Daytona 500 polesitter Ramo Stott and Terry Ryan.

“My dad was my mentor,” Shawna said this week. “There wasn’t a weekend growing up that I wasn’t at a racetrack. I had a chance to drive a sprint car once, but my mom was absolutely against it. We couldn’t get that one past her.

“For me, Indianapolis was all about A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti, but I was never big on open-wheel racing. I always had a dream to go to NASCAR, so the Brickyard was a huge thing for me. Any aspect of being at the Brickyard is a notch on my list. But when you go anywhere and don’t qualify, you beat yourself up for it.”

Today, Robinson is in a business she started while still driving and has a studio in Matthews, N.C. There is Shawna Robinson Designs, Shawna Robinson Happy Chair, Shawna Robinson Special Events and, essentially, a complete layout of interior-decorating services.

She has done special custom work for a number of well-known NASCAR people.

“I don’t regret walking away from my (last) team,” she said. “Of course, Danica coming in and so forth, I was a little ahead of my time. In 1999, I came back to racing. I knew I would come back to racing after I had kids, and I did what I wanted to do.

“I’ll go to the races every once in a while. I’d like to be a little more involved. I always thought I’d be involved in on-air broadcasting. It’s real funny. I’ve been on the other side of the camera as a driver. It’d be interesting to be on the opposite side.”

But with racing at the back door of her life, her first at the Brickyard is something that will stand forever.

                                            ***
Super Weekend tickets: Tickets are on sale now for the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard on July 26-29 at IMS.

All ticket orders can be made at www.imstix.com and through the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday. For more information, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.

Children 12 and under will receive free general admission when accompanied by an adult with a Kroger Super Weekend ticket or general admission ticket.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Brickyard Pioneers: Where are They Now? Shawna Robinson
 
Brickyard Pioneers: Where are They Now? Shawna Robinson
Shawna Robinson, a Daytona 500 veteran from Des Moines, Iowa, who qualified at 11:33 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2001 at 171.966 mph, becoming the first woman ever to qualify a stock car at the historic 2 ½-mile oval.
Read More
Related Media
Alexander Rossi
 
Rossi Closing in on Opportunity to See His Likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy
Rossi’s memories of the Borg-Warner Trophy are more from the day after the race, at the traditional “day-after” photo shoot, when he was posing in front of his No. 98 Honda with the trophy and one of his spotters pointed to the spot where his likeness would go.
Read More
Indy 500 Tickets On Sale Now
 
101st Indianapolis 500 and 2017 Month of May Tickets On Sale Now
Tickets for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil are on sale today, along with the entire 2017 Month of May schedule. Fans who have not already pre-ordered tickets can visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket office or IMS.com to purchase their seats for an action-packed schedule that also includes the IndyCar Grand Prix, Indy 500 practice and qualification days, concerts and so much more.
Read More
Florence Henderson
 
IMS Statement on Passing of Florence Henderson
Florence Henderson was a beloved member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway family. She sang 23 times during Indianapolis 500 pre-race festivities and recently served as Grand Marshal for the historic 100th Running of the Race. The IMS family sends its thoughts and prayers to her loved ones during this difficult time.
Read More
Dancing With The Stars
 
Hinch Finishes Second in 'Dancing With The Stars' Finale
James Hinchcliffe had a season to remember on "Dancing with the Stars," despite finishing a close second to Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez on Tuesday night's live grand finale.
Read More
Dancing With The Stars
 
Hinch Advances to Finale Night for 'Dancing With The Stars'
Along with Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and retired football player Calvin Johnson Jr., Hinchcliffe is one of the three remaining celebrity finalists from a field of 13 that started on the dance competition show in September. Tonight’s two-hour broadcast will feature one more dance from each of the three remaining celebrities and their pro partners, plus returns by the rest of the season cast.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,388
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Who is ready for the 2016 #B1GFCG?! RETWEET for @BadgerFootball - FAVORITE for @PennStateFball https://t.co/eefd2aBHqf
about 1 hour ago