Guest Author - Debbie Lester
Every week we are glued to our television sets or out in the stands watching our favorite drivers try earnestly to get to victory lane. They employ all sorts of strategies. They hold back and then come on strong at the end of the race. They start fast and try to stay up front. They feel out their cars to see what is the best approach for this car at this track. They conserve gas. They sometimes gas and go on pit lane. All in the hopes of becoming the winner of this NASCAR race. To get to victory lane is the goal.
Our driver might do a burn out or even climb the fence when the race is won. He might do a back flip or salute the crowd. But, the next spot on his run is victory lane. Our driver will be greeted by his crew chief, his pit crew, his family and lots of adoring fans, but he will also be greeted by Miss Sprint Cup.
Miss Sprint Cup is basically the return of the “trophy girl” made popular by NASCAR in the 70’s and 80’s. I remember as a child seeing the winning driver getting out of the car and being handed a trophy by a beautiful woman, usually wearing a bathing suit, who planted a kiss on his cheek and took pictures with him.
During this time usually a community or fairgrounds sponsored the race and a beauty pageant was held. The winner presented the winning driver with a trophy, a check, and a kiss. This evolved into the Union 76 race stoppers, who greeted the driver and crews in victory lane. Then you had Miss Winston who represented the tobacco giant at these events. So the bottom line is Miss Sprint Cup is basically a public relations person paid by the sponsors. But, as many will attest she certainly does it with flair.
There are two representatives as Miss Sprint Cup. They are Anne-Marie Rhodes and Monica Palumbo. Anne-Marie has worked in the sports arena as a model for a long time. Some of her clients have been NASCAR, NHRA and The PGA tour. She is a native of North Carolina as is Monica Palumbo. Monica was Miss North Carolina is the 2001 Miss USA pageant.
Both women wear the Sprint Cup driver suits and represent Sprint on and off the track, where they connect fans with not only NASCAR but with the products and services that Sprint has to offer as a whole. The role has definitely changed. Miss Sprint cup no longer wears the skimpy bathing suit and just kisses the drivers after the race. They do appearances, interviews, product selling, fan interaction and a host of other duties during each race weekend. And they get to be in victory lane, every weekend. How cool is that!