The NASCAR family just got a little bigger with the birth of a baby girl born to former driver Erin Crocker and husband Ray Evernham early this morning.
Evernham, who currently works as a consultant for Hendrick Motorsports is probably best known for steering Jeff Gordon to 3 Sprint Cup Series championships in 1995, 1997 and 1998, before “spearheading” the return of Dodge to NASCAR’s top series in 2001.
Erin Crocker Evernham has 39 starts between what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, before her career stalled (in part because of her relationship with now husband Ray). The two were wed in August 26, 2009.
Crocker began racing quarter midgets at the age of 7 in the Custom Quarter MidgetClub, based in Thompson, Connecticut, and the Silver City Quarter Midget Club from Meriden, Connecticut and was named the Most Improved Novice during her first year of competition. She then moved on to win several awards and three Northeast Regional Quarter Midgets of America championships from 1993 to 1996 while in middle and high school. In 1997, she began driving Mini Sprints at Whip City Speedway in Westfield, MA. Not only did she become the youngest driver, she was also the first female to win a race at the track.
Crocker started racing professionally in the World of Outlaws while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and management engineering in 2003 (a year after signing with Woodring Racing to drive a 360 winged sprint car). Erin won 5 feature races as well as twelve heat events, earning her the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Outstanding Newcomer Award. The following season, she switched to 410 Dirt Sprints, and became the first woman to qualify for the Knoxville Nationals, winning the 410 division’s Rookie of the Year honors at season’s end.
In 2004 Erin joined Ford Motor Company’s driver development program, and tested a Ford sprint for Bob East and Steve Lewis that season. She also became the first World of Outlaws driver to win a feature race that year in Tulare, CA. She left, Ford, however, in 2005 to join Evernham Motorsports’ driver development program. During the season, she raced in the ARCA RE/MAX Series and collected 3 top 5’s, including a second place finish, five top 10’s, and two poles in six starts. She also made her NASCARdebut that season at Richmond International Raceway driving the #6 Country Crock Dodge for Evernham in the Busch Series. in. She ran 2 additional races that season, one for Evernham and the other for FitzBradshaw Racing, her best finish coming at Memphis Motorsports Park, where she finished 29th for FitzBradshaw in the #40 Cheerios/St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Dodge.
In 2006 Crocker drove the #98 full-time in the Truck Series. She finished 25th in the Craftsman Truck standings. After struggling during the 2006 season, Evernham decided to close the #98 team and Crocker moved on to race in a (select) amount of ARCA Series events. She won the pole for the season-opening ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway in 2007.
In announcing his daughter’s pending arrival during an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio in June, Ray stated that he hoped she would grow up to be “another redhead lady driver.” While no one knows what the future will bring, the baby certainly has the bloodlines to join the next generation of NASCAR drivers.