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Julia Landauer ’14

Image what a female NASCAR driver would look like.  Now, I’m sure Julia Landauer is not what you had in mind.  Wandering around Tressider looking for Julia to conduct our Her Campus interview, I must say I expected to find a burly girl waiting for me.  Instead, I was surprised to meet a feminine, down-to-earth girl who happens to love racing cars.
This New York City girl discovered her passion for racing at age 10 when she began racing go-carts.  Her parents actually got her brother and sister involved in racing as a family activity because girls and boys can compete together.  After a friend had begun to race cars around age 12, shortly thereafter, she moved onto cars and won her first championship at 14.  Being a successful female driver has not come without its challenges.  Julia has encountered parents who do not assume a girl can be competitive and complain that’s she is “too aggressive” or “too pushy” on the track.  But Julia has silenced the critics by continuing to prove herself on every track. 
Transitioning from racing at home to college, Julia has taken on the endeavor more or less on her own, from scheduling conversations with sponsors to training.  The racing season spans from March to September with races on Friday or Saturday nights.  While the actual competition lasts for one or two days, “the whole off-track and business side of racings takes up so much time,” says Julia.  Therefore, time management is imperative.  When not in season, Julia must continue to practice on nearby tracks, stay in physical shape, eat healthfully (“most of the time”) and talk to potential sponsors – not to mention take lots of units in order to be able to take a quarter or two off to accommodate the rigorous racing schedule.  “You definitely have to be a type-A, somewhat compulsive personality to balance it,” says Julia.
When asked if she had any qualms about being one of the only, if not the only, female drivers on the scene, her response was, “If he can do it, I can do it.”  Julia has embraced the opportunity to be one of the faces of women in Nascar.  Partnering with “Girls For A Change™,” a national non-profit organization that empowers girls to create social change, Julia hopes to recruit more females in the racing sphere.  She calls it “exciting” to be a part of the women in power movement where women have begun to take a larger presence in the higher levels of any given field, such as business, technology and sports. 
Others racers, however, do not quite view the opportunity in the same light.  “On one hand, I really would love to see more women racing and band together to promote women in racing, but a lot of women are focused on being the first and one and the big one, so they’re not helping the movement.”  For example, Dania Patrick, the most successful woman in the history of racing, holds the highest finish by a woman at the Indianapolis 500 of 3rd place, yet she heralds her position as the sole female racer rather than supporting the newcomers.
NASCAR is not all fun and games though, and the recent death of Dan Wheldon, the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion and winner of the Indy 500 in both 2005 and 2011, hits home for Julia who knew him personally.  She says, “It’s absolutely devastating, but at the same time, I’m wired to understand that that’s a possibility.  It’s a dangerous sport, but I can’t let that get in the way of what I love to do.  My love for racing is much stronger than the fear.” 
To learn more about Julia Landauer, visit www.julialandauer.com. You can also “like” her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
Fun Facts about Julia:
She has raced in 16 states.
She has a NASCAR license.
Her favorite part of racing is the sheer speed and the process of putting everything together to be successful: the lawn, your car, your team and your skill.
Her least favorite part of racing is that much is out of your control.  For example, she has had a tire fall off while leading in the final lap of a race. 

Allison is the Her Campus Correspondent at Stanford University, majoring in Communication (and maybe Art History!). She is working her way up the magazine ladder in New York City with an editorial internship at InStyle Magazine under her belt.  Originally from Windermere, FL, Allison spends her free time watching football, devouring sweets and online shopping. You can follow her on Twitter at @allisonotis and on Pinterest! 
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