Meet Venezuelan race car driver Milka Duno, she is the first Hispanic female driver in history to compete in a NASCAR national series in the United States.
Venezuelan race driver Milka Duno will make her NASCAR debut on Friday night at the Bristol Motor Speedway when she will race in The Food City 300 Nationwide Series. While Danica Patrick broke up the old boys club in NASCAR, Duno is the first Hispanic female to compete in a NASCAR national series race in the United States. To get to know the new face in stock car racing, here are 10 facts about Milka Duno
1. The 42-year-old Duno began her racing career late in life after she was invited to a driving clinic by a car club in Venezuela. She began racing in 1996 and went pro at the Venezuelan Porsche Supercup in 1998.
2. Duno made her American Le Mans Series debut in 2000 and became the first woman to finish in a class podium on this championship. She made her 24 Hours of Daytona debut the next year and her 24 Hours of Le Mans debut a year later.
3. The Venezuelan is not just a pretty face behind the wheel -- she holds master’s degrees in Organizational Development, Naval Architecture, Maritime Business, and Marine Biology. She also previously worked as a naval engineer.
4. April 29, 2007 marked the marked the first time in North American open wheel history that three women (Duno, Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher) ran in the same race when the three lined up for the start of IndyCar's the Kansas Lottery Indy 300.
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5. Despite competing in the IndyCar Series from 2007 to 2010, Duno is probably best known for her confrontation with Danica Patrick where the American driver confronted her Venezuelan counterpart about getting in Patrick’s way. Duno responded by tossing a towel at Patrick.
6. Duno made her stock car debut in 2010 in the ARCA Racing Series' season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway.
7. Duno is also a bit of an actress, playing -- what else -- the role of race car driver Kellie "Gearbox" in the live action animated Warner Brothers movie "Speed Racer."
8. Author Raquel Benatar used Duno as an inspiration for her children’s book "Go, Milka, Go! The Life of Milka Duno" or the Spanish language version "¡Corre, Milka, corre! La vida de Milka Duno."
9. Milka became the first Venezuelan athlete to be inducted into the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame at their 35th Anniversary Induction Ceremony in January, 2010.
10. Milka is competing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series with RAB Racing in their No. 29 Toyota Camry.