Nine rising stars
Yes, she gets asked about Danica Patrick. "It doesn't bother me," Long says. "She's doing a good job for the sport." Meanwhile, Long is doing a pretty good job for herself. In February, when Danica became the first female ever in Daytona's starting grid, the 19-year-old Long made her debut, with far less fanfare, as the youngest woman in the Nationwide Series. A week later, in her second start for owner Mary Louise Miller, she finished in the top 20. Long has always been fast-tracked, starting at age 13 on the same Florida circuit raced by her dad and granddad. But she isn't in too much of a hurry. "I want to be consistent," she says. "Hopefully, we can run a few top-15 finishes this year."