By Christine Valdez
Web Production Assistant
Haddon Township native Julianna White recently traded in her tiara for a fire suit and cars.
Recently White was named to the Miss Sprint Cup lineup within the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, known as the fans’ friend on the inside, giving a look behind the scenes of the series. Joining Miss Sprint Cup veteran Kim Coon and fellow new Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, White joined the lineup to take part in various NASCAR activities and fan interaction through the racetrack.
Being part of the Miss Sprint Cup lineup requires public speaking and promoting but it’s nothing new for White as she had a similar experience when she competed in Miss New Jersey USA.
Although White did not want to be a pageant girl, she signed up for Miss New Jersey Teen USA at the age of 17, wanting to make an image of her own within her family. Her sister was a soccer player.
“I was just kind of looking for something to call my own and I got into theater and I realized that I loved being on stage,” said White. “So behind everyone’s back, I signed up for Miss New Jersey Teen USA. I wore my prom dress, my sister’s shoes and I was pretty much a misfit and I ended up winning and going to Miss Teen USA.”
Following the success at the Miss New Jersey teen pageant, after some time away White decided to sign up for the 2011 Miss New Jersey USA pageant. Just like her previous experience at a New Jersey pageant, White walked away with the crown and the chance to compete at Miss USA in Las Vegas.
The experience at Miss USA was great, according to White, and she was able to make long lasting friendships. For White, the pageant experience was just to go out and have fun and experience everything it had to offer.Following the Miss New Jersey and Miss USA experience, White pursued some other opportunities, including becoming a model for QVC, and it went on to open the doors for Miss Sprint Cup.
“I thought it was something different but also right up my alley, so I decided to tape myself talking about NASCAR and sent it in,” said White.
It was going through the interview process that White realized that being in NASCAR and in the Miss Sprint Cup program was where she wanted to be.
“The more I got involved with the interview process, the more I realized this is my dream job, this is what I’m suppose to be doing right now, and since then it’s just been a total blessing,” White said.
Similar to the pageant scene, White had some competition. As many as 150 to 200 women submit applications to the Miss Sprint Cup program per year in hopes of being selected for the job, according to Sprint Media Relations Manager Chris Madigan.
“Anywhere from 150 to 200 people a year were actively sending in resumes and it’s a very thorough background check, it’s a very thorough interview process,” said Madigan.
The Miss Sprint Cup program has been going on since 2008, according to Madigan, and it has grown from the initial start of one Miss Sprint Cup to three and has seen many women become part of the lineup. Not only do all three interact with fans at the Sprint Experience, but they also allow fans to have a look behind the scenes with updates on social media as well as appearances.
Although White may be new to the Miss Sprint Cup lineup — she first began the job during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All Star Race weekend in May — she’s familiar with NASCAR because several of her family members are fans. She remembers one of her first experiences with racing during a race weekend at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.
“Growing up, I have 31 aunts and uncles, so a bunch of them are hardcore NASCAR fans so I always heard about it,” White said. “Been to the Dover track before but I had never been as immersed as I am now. Now I know so many details.”
Prior to NASCAR and Sprint’s reveal of White to the Miss Sprint Cup lineup, she got a look at what the job would feature. During the past NASCAR race at Talladega, she got to experience the race not only from the perspective of Miss Sprint Cup, but as fan with a behind-the-scenes look.“Before Miss Sprint Cup, they took me to Talladega,” White said. “I went kind of in a baseball hat incognito and that was amazing because I also got to go in the pits and the garage and see it throughout the eyes of a fan with a hot pass.”
Now as she gets to experience the NASCAR season throughout its various racetracks nationwide, White says she is excited to see them all as each track has different qualities and quirks to them. Along with the different racetracks, White wants to see how the drivers react to the various racing styles at the tracks.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to various racetracks throughout the year. New Jersey is not on the NASCAR schedule but it does have two neighboring tracks in Delaware and Pennsylvania with Dover and Pocono Raceway. White says that she has gone back and forth about claiming a home track, but if she could claim both Dover and Pocono as her home track she would as she sees familiar settings in both.
“I see people in Phillies hats and Eagles shirts and I feel at home in both of them,” said White.
Along with familiar Jersey, New York and Philly paraphernalia, White says she has met several fans at the track, including fans from New Jersey that she says she would have never met otherwise.
As for building up the NASCAR experience for fans with Miss Sprint Cup and the Sprint Experience, Madigan said, “It gives the fans another person to come interact with, like the drivers are in the middle of practice but the whole day fans can come out here and meet one of the Miss Sprint Cups and get a photo taken with them, get an autograph and get a picture with the trophy. So it’s kind of a unique experience that we’re helping, hopefully, add to the overall experience of NASCAR fans.
While traveling to the various tracks and meeting the fans, White says that fan reaction has been great. Before starting the job as Miss Sprint Cup, White admits to having been a little nervous but that everything has been positive.
Within the garage area, drivers and teams have received White well and according to White, all of the drivers have posed and smiled for pictures for her.
The 2014 season is White’s first year as Miss Sprint Cup. She says she continues to learn but that fellow Miss Sprint Cups Coon and Martin have been helpful and have become not just White’s coworkers but her new friends as well.“Kim and Madison have been nothing but help,” White said. “I really looked up to them as I was getting into the program and now that I can call them my friends and I text them when I have any kinds of questions and they will know the answer. They won’t judge me if it’s a stupid question. They’re both so talented but I’m very lucky to have them.”
With some victory lane appearances and other Miss Sprint Cup duties under her belt, White says that she’s starting to get into the job but that she continues to learn more about the sport every day.
“I feel like I’m already getting into the groove of things but I still learn something new every single day and when it comes to the interviews at the Sprint Experience or the interviews in the Sprint suites, you can only get better when you start,” said White. “So it’s becoming easier to me and my expectation is to keep getting better in the roles that I have as Miss Sprint Cup.”