CORNELIUS, N.C. – Danica Patrick isn’t the only female athlete ready to make a splash in Sunday’s 55th running of the Daytona 500.
Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has hired professional CrossFit competitor Christmas Abbott as a full-time pit crewmember for its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation.
Abbott, 31, will be a “weekend warrior” with MWR, traveling to all NASCAR Sprint Cup events in a pit support role. Her long-term goal is to go over the wall as a tire changer.
“This is just the first step for me,” said Abbott who competed in several CrossFit competitions since 2006 and can overhead squat 200 lbs. “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.”
MWR’s pit coaches have seen enough development of the 5’3 115-pound Abbott to name her to the MWR travel squad.
“This is another first for Michael Waltrip Racing,” said founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. “She is an incredible elite athlete and she has worked with our crews by bringing some cross-fit elements to their workouts. She is a competitor and when she decided to start working towards an over the wall position, we said we are the perfect place to make it happen.
“As Danica has seen, it takes a lot of work and dedication to get to the top level of her trade. With her Daytona 500 pole, it seems so much of that work has been worth it. I believe the same can hold true for Christmas. We expect her to excel or we wouldn’t commit the position to her.”