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Jaclyn Roney: Sprint at the finish

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Updated: June 16, 2012 8:04AM

If you watch a NASCAR race and the celebration in Victory Lane, you’ll notice a smiling girl in a Sprint firesuit standing behind the winning driver. That’s Miss Sprint Cup, and she does more than just look pretty and nod at what the winner says. There are three Miss Sprint Cups — Jaclyn Roney, Kristen Beat and Kim Coon — and the Sun-Times spoke with Roney, 25, whose parents and five siblings live in Batavia.

S-T: What else do you do besides go to the races?

JR: What surprises a lot of people is that this is a full-time job. We represent Sprint in any kind of capacity. We bring breakfast to the winning team’s race shop on Monday, we write blogs and answer fan mail.

S-T: What are the requirements?

JR: There are three rounds of interviews, and you have to have a marketing or public-relations background and a college degree.

S-T: Your favorite driver?

JR: Ryan Newman. We were never told to be impartial. They know I have a big mouth, and they’re OK with that. Because the interview process is so brutal, they are happy with us when we speak our minds.

S-T: What is Danica Patrick (right) going to do for NASCAR?

JR: It’s opening the door for hundreds and thousands of fans who are interested in her racing career. I think it speaks volumes that she competes each week with the best drivers in the world.

S-T: Does it rankle you that Patrick is known only for her beauty?

JR: No matter what people think about her, it’s a fact that she’s an incredible talent and is broadening fan interest in the sport.

S-T: Where was your wildest Victory Lane? Talledega? Daytona?

JR: Miami-Homestead last November. The whole week I was thinking how funny it would be if the Chase for the Sprint Cup ended in a tie, and it did. And at Kansas (April 22) when Denny Hamlin won. I almost got hit in the head with a Gatorade bottle.

Tina Akouris

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