Christmas Abbott The New Face Of NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — For one aspiring NASCAR pit crew member, Wednesday was Christmas.

And it was earlier than anticipated.

Christmas Abbott, an elite-level fitness athlete whose journey to become a full-time pit crew member has been well-chronicled, saw her dream come true.

Three days after Danica Patrick became the first woman to win a pole in a Sprint Cup Series race, Michael Waltrip Racing announced it had hired Abbott for its Cup operation. That makes her the only woman employed in NASCAR as a full-time pit crew member.

Abbott, 31, will be a “weekend warrior” with MWR, traveling to all Cup events in a pit support role. Her long-term goal is to be a tire changer.

“This is just the first step for me,” she said. “I’ve been training for several months. This is the most challenging thing I have ever done.

“I’m here to do whatever my coaches ask of me, and I don’t want any handouts. I’m ready to work three races a weekend if that’s what it takes to get me where I want to be.

“I’m in this for the long haul.”

At 5-foot-3 and 115 pounds, Abbott doesn’t look much like any of the other over-the-wall crew members.

For more on this story visit: Jim Utter,