The woman who was told not to race in the final Firestone Indy Lights race of 2009 (so as not to mess up the battle for second in the points of that league) got monster air in the New York Times today.
Leilani Münter had her attempt to run in the FIL finale at Homestead cut short by an ill-prepared team and an edict from FIL bosses that no one-offs would be marring the excitement of the battle for second in the points.
Leilani is a super quality person, relentlessly positive, extremely passionate about racing and the cause of conservation. So far she's lined up some eco-friendly sponsors and is getting traction in ARCA, where crowd sizes above 29 and a TV package make sponsorship a far, far, far easier sell than FIL.
Plus, Leilani's timing is brilliant because some of the intense spotlight on Danica Patrick is spilling onto her. She'll take it. She's even being mistaken for the Danistar (both are about the same size, dark hair, pony tail, I guess I can see it) Witness this story from the Mighty New York Times.
Also getting air thanks in part to Danica is Alli Owens, who's background and story make everyone of similar means (my father was an auto mechanic and my mother did not work outside the home) want to root hard for her. I know I will be today during the ARCA race.
From the NYT story, here's Alli:
Owens, 21, grew up in South Daytona Beach. Her parents own a commercial cleaning business and could not support her driving dream. So, when she was 13, Owens put together a publicity kit, hopped on her bicycle and solicited donations from all the companies she could visit and still make her 8 p.m. curfew.
By the time she was 15, Owens had raised $10,000, she said, “which paid for tires and gas.”
That, my friends, is a plucky work-hard-to-get-what-you-want racing Ninja. No sugar daddy to finance the early career. Just schwerve and grit.
Says Alli: "I hope Danica really has an appreciation of what she’s representing. There are so many females who would like to be in her position.”
Rock on, Alli and Leilani. You don't have to be Danica to have people rooting for you.