Busch Light is launching a new program aimed at creating more gender equality in NASCAR, particularly on the racetrack.
The Anheuser-Busch brand has committed to spending $10 million over the next three years to elevate women in NASCAR with the Busch Light Accelerate Her program. The objective is provide more funding, track time, media exposure and training to prospective female NASCAR racers aged 21 or older.
“Busch Light has been an iconic sponsor in NASCAR for decades and we’ve been lucky to witness some of the greatest women drivers in history, but it can’t be argued that the NASCAR Cup Series field is dominated by male drivers,” said Krystyn Stowe, senior brand director of Busch Family Brands at Anheuser-Busch. “Through our sponsorship rights and our platform, we’re seizing the opportunity to make historic progress toward gender inclusivity and while the immediate program goals may start here, we hope the sentiment will carry far beyond that, encouraging the broadcast level of inclusivity across all sports.”
There is not a female driver competing at the Cup Series level. Danica Patrick was the last to do so, running full-time from 2013 to ’17 and making a total of 191 career starts.
Hailie Deegan and Jennifer Jo Cobb were the only two female drivers with full-time rides at the NASCAR national series level in 2021. Both in the Camping World Truck Series.
Seven female drivers will receive the inaugural sponsorship through the Busch Light Accelerate Her Program: Cobb, Toni Breidinger, Natalie Decker, Amber Balcaen, Brittney Zamora, Stephanie Moyer and Melissa Fifield.
Breidinger, 21, will run the full ARCA Menards Series schedule and a limited Truck Series schedule this season. Balcaen, 29, is also set for a full year of ARCA competition.
Decker, 24, ran five Xfinity Series races last year. Zamora, 22, became the first female to win in Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway’s premier late model division last season. She’s announced plans to run more late model races this season with the Rackley W.A.R. team.
Moyer, 24, is an ARCA Menards East Series contender. Fifield has made 111 career starts in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
“I know firsthand that women drivers in NASCAR face obstacles in advancing to the highest level of the sport,” said Breidinger. “But the track doesn’t know gender, the car doesn’t know gender, so gender is irrelevant. At the end of the day, we’re all drivers on the same track racing towards the same goal. I’m proud to take part in the Busch Light Accelerate Her program alongside other women drivers because it’s not only an incredible new stream of direct support, but it’s the first real step toward spotlighting the gender imbalance.”
Busch Light will invest directly “in every” female driver 21 or older and put in place a program to track their development, improve their access to the sport and celebrate their success. A portion of the $10 million commitment will be reserved as a standing sponsorship fund for up-and-coming drivers.
“Busch Light is a leading sponsor who’s paving the way for women drivers to accomplish their dreams of competing at the highest level of our sport,” said Michelle Byron, vice president of partnership marketing at NASCAR. “The Accelerate Her program will provide tremendous exposure and support as they rise through the ranks in our developmental and national series. Alongside our sponsorship partner, NASCAR is equally committed to creating an inclusive sport where the most talented drivers, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage.”
The official launch of the program will occur through an advertisement during the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20.