ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Danica Patrick's rise through the racing ranks has inspired a whole generation of young female racecar drivers. And by winning the pole position at the 2013 Daytona 500, Patrick has raised the bar for those young women who hope to follow in her footsteps.
Now a local girl with a lead foot hopes to take women in racing to the next level.
Georgia Henneberry is only 14-years-old and already she's a national champion KART racer. She's seen what Danica Patrick has done in her career and hopes to one day be even more successful.
Henneberry says she's always been a racing fan, but when she saw Danica Patrick mixing it up with the boys she knew her dreams of winning on the top circuits could be reached.
"She's obviously a great driver to be where she's at and she's worked really hard to get there," said Henneberry. "And I said I want to do that."
Two years ago Henneberry hooked up with St. Louis-based Margay Racing. With the help of her coach, Keith Freber, her mother, her father and her step-father, Henneberry and her number 47 car hit the KART racing scene.
"It's the perfect adrenaline rush. It really is."
In the male-dominated sport of racing, Henneberry says getting a leg up as a young woman can be tough.
"A lot of people, I would say, discriminate against women in this sport," she said.
But Henneberry says being a woman can actually be an advantage. Her 5' 2", 115 pound frame is smaller and lighter than many of her competitors. But she says the physical demands are same for men and women.
"When you're flying around at speeds of 80 or 85 miles an hour you have to be able to hold yourself in," said Henneberry. "And that goes back to a lot of people saying, oh, racers aren't athletes. Well, yes you are."
She's light-hearted in the shop, but Henneberry is all business on the track and she plans to keep proving that as she graduates from KART to Microsprints.
"It really doesn't matter if you're a girl or a guy. If you're good at what you do you're good."
And while Danica Patrick may have been an early inspiration, Georgia Henneberry plans to leave her own mark on the sport she loves.
"I want to be where she's at but I want to be the first woman to win a NASCAR race."