Erin Mary Crocker Evernham (born on March 23, 1981, in Wilbraham, Massachusetts) is an American race car driver. She drove the #98 Gillett Evernham Motorsports owned Dodge Charger in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. In the past she played soccer, tennis, and varsity lacrosse on both her high school and college teams. Her entrance to the world of top tier motorsports has been stalled due in part to a personal relationship between Crocker and her former boss, team owner and current husband, Ray Evernham.
Early career[edit | edit source]
Crocker first started racing quarter midgets at the age of 7 in the Custom Quarter Midget Club, based in Thompson, Connecticut, and the Silver City Quarter Midget Club from Meriden, Connecticut and was named the Most Improved Novice during her first year of competition. She then moved on to win several awards and three Northeast Regional Quarter Midgets of America championships from 1993 to 1996 while in middle and high school. In 1997, Crocker began running Mini Sprints at Whip City Speedway in Westfield, MA. She became the youngest driver and the first female to win a race at the track. In 1998 she again competed in a 1200cc Mini sprint at Whip City and also with the Central New York Mini Sprint Association (CNYMS). In 1999, she moved to the Eastern Limited Sprint Series, and was named Rookie of the Year.
Crocker started racing professionally in the World of Outlaws while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and management engineering in 2003. In 2002, Crocker signed with Woodring Racing to drive a 360 winged sprint car. She won five feature races as well as twelve heat events, earning her the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Outstanding Newcomer Award. The following season, she switched to 410 Dirt Sprints, and became the first woman to qualify for the Knoxville Nationals. She won the 410 division's Rookie of the Year honors at season's end.
NASCAR and ARCA[edit | edit source]
2004[edit | edit source]
In 2004, Crocker won an opportunity to drive for Ford Motor Company's driver development program, and tested a Ford sprint for Bob East and Steve Lewis that season. She also became the first World of Outlaws driver to win a feature race that year in Tulare, California.
2005[edit | edit source]
The following season, she left Ford to join Evernham Motorsports' driver development program. During the season, she raced in the ARCA RE/MAX Series and collected 3 top 5's, including a second place finish, five top 10's, and two poles in six starts. She also made her NASCAR debut that season at Richmond International Raceway driving the #6 Country Crock Dodge for Evernham in the Busch Series, starting 42nd and finishing 39th after a wreck. In her next start at Dover International Speedway, she qualified ninth, but wrecked eleven laps into the race after being tapped by Justin Labonte. Crocker sustained a cracked rib from the incident forcing her to sit out some races she was scheduled to compete in. She ran two more races that season, one for Evernham and the other for FitzBradshaw Racing, her best finish coming at Memphis Motorsports Park, where she finished 29th for FitzBradshaw in the #40 Cheerios/St. Jude's Children's Hospital Dodge Charger. She also ran a pair of Truck races for Bobby Hamilton Racing, at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedway, her best finish a 30th at Homestead-Miami Raceway.
2006[edit | edit source]
In 2006 Crocker drove the #98 full-time in the Truck Series. She finished 25th in the Craftsman Truck standings. After struggling during the 2006 season, Evernham decided to close the #98 team.
2007[edit | edit source]
In 2007, Crocker ran a select number of ARCA Series events. She won the pole for the season-opening ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway in 2007. She however struggled, finishing 20th in the race.
During her tenure as a truck-series driver, a dispute between then-Evernham Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield and Ray Evernham resulted in a series of lawsuits between Mayfield and Evernham. In Mayfield’s legal filings, he asserted that the #19 team’s lack of on-track success was due in large part to Evernham’s attention being focused on his personal relationship with an unnamed female driver. At the time, Crocker was the only female driver employed by Evernham Motorports. Evernham confirmed in an interview with ESPN that the relationship exists and has hurt Crocker's career.
2008[edit | edit source]
Following the fall 2007 ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway, it was confirmed that she had left Evernham Motorsports. She ran a limited 2 race schedule in the truck series for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, before she was replaced by Red Bull drivers A. J. Allmendinger & Scott Speed. For the ARCA/REMAX race on September 6, 2008, she joined the broadcast booth for SPEED Channel.