“It all started with a tweet.”
That is how racecar driver Shea Holbrook says the Twitter hashtag #SteelOvaryNation was started. The campaign was created after the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series (NCWTS) season opener in Daytona.
Here’s the backstory: Johnny Sauter, sponsored by “Carolina Nut,” was the winner of the NCWTS race at Daytona. After the race, Shea saw multiple tweets congratulating Sauter on his win, saying that it “took big nuts to win that one.” Shea’s response was golden, and it took off like a rocket. “I contemplated chiming in on the conversation and finally went for it,” Shea said, “saying ‘Girls have big nuts too. It’s called ovaries.’”
It was after the outrageous number of responses to that tweet that she decided to create the hashtag #SteelOvaryNation with the help of a few friends.
#SteelOvaryNation is a brand representing female drivers, engineers, mechanics, broadcasters, bloggers, fans, and car and motorsport gurus. The purpose of this campaign is to create a common place to be energetic, fun and it is ultimately a place to bring people together to support women in the motorsports industry.
Is this just for females? Absolutely not. There is a place for male fans too, and they even have their own hashtag. With support from many male race fans, #Brovaries was created.
“#Brovaries have been AWESOME!” Shea exclaimed. “They’ve been hilarious, kind and very supportive.” The #Brovaries come in many different forms as well. They are fans, media personnel, bloggers, drivers and more.
#SteelOvaryNation has quickly expanded far beyond the Twitterverse. There is now a Facebook Fan Page and most recently, a website, SteelOvaryNation.com.
“The website is the hub where people can check out unique women in motorsports,” said Shea. “As well as dudes that support us chicas.”
Fellow driver Patrick Gallagher thinks the website is a great place for people to show support for females in the motor-racing industry. “This has been a male dominated sport and this is a great way to show people that women can get involved,” he said.
Shannon Mudro, a fellow racecar driver agreed, saying, “I love how interactive the site is in the sense that anyone can be featured on the site by showing their support for #SteelOvaryNation through pictures and blog posts.”
Having a community that supports females in the motorsports industry is a great way to put the spotlight on a great group of people. The number of women in this industry keeps growing thanks to drivers like Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher and more recently, Danica Patrick, whose endeavors have paved the way for generations to come.
“Racing is one of the few sports in which women can compete directly with men on equal terms,” said Bill Zahren, blogger and creator of “Women of Pressdog.”
Women are not only growing in numbers on the racetrack, but they are “becoming more and more successful in motorsports showing that they can compete on the same level as the [men],” said Gallagher.
It is obvious that the motorsports industry is becoming more open-minded about women in the field and that is one thing that Shannon Mudro loves to see. “The sport is becoming more saturated with women, and it’s a beautiful thing!” she exclaimed.
Holbrook seems to agree. “For every little girl out there that is interested in racing but won’t say anything because it’s seen as a ‘good ol’ boys club,’ we hope to give them the strength to pursue their interests,” she said.
That is one of the goals of #SteelOvaryNation because like #Brovary Jack Carter says, “you never know there is a difference until somebody takes their helmet off.”
#SteelOvaryNation keeps growing and gaining recognition all across the world beginning with a TweetUp at the IndyCar Series opener in St Petersburg where Shea, racecar driver Pippa Mann, and others took to the stage to talk about the campaign.
“Every track we go to will promote via social media a gathering or TweetUp where people can come meet some of the #SteelOvaryNation ladies”, said Shea.
There have been suggestions of tents in the midway and fan zones to even decals on cars. “It would be cool if supportive female drivers would somehow incorporate the hashtag into their cars or uniforms and make it sort of a rallying cry for female racers,” says Zahren.
Banning together to bring support and recognition to females in the industry is what the creators of this campaign want to see. “Channeling female racers and supporters into one brand makes it easy for people to interact, communicate and identify with us,” says Mudro.
In talking with Shea and everyone else involved with #SteelOvaryNation, it is clear that they have big dreams for this campaign that all formed because of a tweet. The recognition of this campaign continues to grow and with the website now up in full force, it’s easier than ever for people to get involved.
Male or female, #SteelOvaryNation welcomes and recognizes all. Get involved and help make this campaign even bigger than anyone can even imagine. The best part about the website though is pretty obvious; they have a swag section!