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First Ever Female in NASCAR Pit Crew Christmas Abbott Weighs Just 115lbs, But Lifts 255lbs

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A petite but strong woman, Christmas Abbott, is now calling NASCAR home after she was just hired as the first ever full-time female pit crew member.

Abbott is a weight lifter and runs her own CrossFit center. She also worked in Iraq as a defense contractor. Now, she holds a job as a tire changer at NASCAR.

She is 31 years old, 5'3" and 115 pounds, but her size doesn't represent her strength, as she can dead lift 255 pounds.

In February, she made her debut working on Jennifer Jo Cobb's truck at the Daytona International Speedway. 

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That's what paved the way for her to attain a full-time contract with Michael Waltrip Racing working on Clint Bowyer's crew.

Though there have been other women in the Sprint Cup Series, Abbott said no female has ever been hired full-time.

While she may stand out in a crowd of muscular men, she can certainly keep up with them. She is able to change two 60-ound tires in 12 seconds.

"It's not a gender issue for me," she said. "I decided to change tires because I liked what I did. I liked the excitement of it, the challenge and what it presented. That's why I pursued the sport."

She said she first started thinking of working in the pit after a friend suggested it to her. But she didn't start seriously considering it until she went and saw them at work.

"I heard the noise for a gun [to remove the nut lugs] and that got my attention," she said. "And then I saw how fast they do it and the little orchestrated dance they do with the car and I was just fascinated."

"I had no idea it was that exciting and challenging. It's a highly tuned technical skill and it's pretty incredible how spot-on you have to be every single time."

It would be intimidating for many to enter a career dominated by men, but Abbott had already experienced this during her time in Iraq. 

In Iraq, she was working at a military laundry center in a war zone and surrounded by very few women. 

She didn't have very many people watching her there, but with this newfound fame, she is hoping that her presence will help inspire women to achieve their dreams.

"There are more eyes on me," she said. "There are more eyes on Michael Waltrip and NASCAR now because of this. I think it is a positive highlight and [women] are going to be there sooner or later. I just hope I can perform to where I want to perform."

"There are other female drivers that I think are overlooked a lot. I just want there to be more attention across the board. This is a sport that anyone can get to, whether you're male, female, Hispanic, it doesn't matter. This is an open-door opportunity for anyone who wants to take it."

Sources: Daily Mail, SB Nation