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ARCA: Patrick Has Company

Danica Patrick is easily the most famous woman driving race cars this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, but she isn’t the only one.

In fact, the Automobile Racing Club of America seems to be headquarters for the National Organization of Racing Women, if there is such a group. Six women are entered in Saturday’s Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA season opener at Daytona. Patrick has collected much of the publicity in front of the event as she prepares for a part-time Nationwide Series schedule. Also entered – and practicing at the track Thursday afternoon – are: --Alli Owens of Daytona Beach, Fla. Owens has raced in 23 ARCA events and has a top finish of sixth, at Talladega, Ala. last year. She is driving one of five Venturini Racing entries this weekend. --Jennifer Jo Cobb of Kansas City, Kans. Cobb has eight ARCA starts and has finished in the top 10 three times. She drives for Bowsher-Mooi Motorsports. --Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa. A Late Model driver, George is entered in a Dodge owned by Inman, South Carolina’s James Hylton, who has made news in recent years at Daytona by trying to qualify for the Daytona 500 past the age of 70. --Leilani Munter of Rochester, Minn. Saturday’s race will be Munter’s first at Daytona, but she has tested here four times. --Milka Duno of Carcus, Venezuela. Duno will be making her first stock-car start but has experience in IndyCar racing and in sports cars. There has not been a victory by a woman in ARCA history, but four women drivers – Christi Passmore, Patty Simko, Shawna Robinson and Erin Crocker – have scored top-five finishes. With 23 ARCA starts, Owens has much more experience than the other women in the field. ARCA qualifying is scheduled at 11 a.m. Friday.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEEDtv.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.