Christmas Abbott would seem an odd fit for her job as a NASCAR crew member.
After all, she is a 5-foot-3, 115-pound woman who has to lift tires nearly half her weight and bolt them back onto a car in 12 seconds or less. Given her small frame, the task seems nearly impossible, but anyone who has seen Abbott work quickly loses any doubts about her abilities.
The heavily tattooed Abbott is as tough as they come, a former Iraq War veteran who can squat close to 300 pounds.
She has to be tough, given her place in one of the most male-dominated sports in America. Earlier this year she signed a deal to serve on a pit crew in the Camping World Truck Series, working for driver Jennifer Jo Cobb. She was also in Clint Bowyer’s pit for the Daytona 500, shadowing the Michael Waltrip Racing crew.
Christmas Abbott said she’s sacrificed a lot to get to this point and is ready to give even more to succeed in NASCAR.
“I have to get dirty and [travel] overnight,” Abbott told Yahoo Sports earlier this year about the grueling Truck Series schedule. “NASCAR fans are die-hard and they will call out your B.S. I want to go to the highest level, and I left three jobs to do [this] one.”
Abbott said she was always looking to break down barriers set before her, starting with her desire as a youth to play baseball against boys rather than playing softball with the girls.
Abbott’s mother had to fight to get Christmas into the league, and when the league officials finally did relent, she still faced trouble.
“They chucked the ball at me,” Christmas said with a laugh. “A lot.”
Christmas Abbott said her life changed after a car accident when she was 13. Her sister was thrown from the car and went into a coma, and during her long recovery Christmas was sent into a deep depression. After a few years at college, Christmas decided to follow her mother, a general contractor, to Iraq.
There Abbott found discipline, and also found a new workout craze called CrossFit. She soon became an expert, one of an elite group known as “Head Trainers,” and gained a small following within the CrossFit world.
Her stature in CrossFit circles actually got Christmas noticed by Ted Bullard, then of Turner Motorsports, who realized that many of the skills of CrossFit could transfer well to a NASCAR pit crew (one of the CrossFit exercises actually involves flipping a large tire).