Race Car Driver Aims to Put Brakes on Global Warming

Leilani Munter Gets Behind Climate Security Act

"We are not an eco-friendly sport," said Leilani Munter, who came to Capitol Hill this week to promote her cause. (By Linton Weeks -- The Washington Post)
  Enlarge Photo     Buy Photo
Discussion Policy
Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 6, 2008; Page C09

Race-car driver Leilani Munter was on Capitol Hill yesterday telling members of Congress how to combat global warming.

Wait, what?

Race cars are notorious polluters. NASCAR only switched to unleaded gasoline recently. How could anyone take her seriously?

But there she was, in tan business suit and boots, talking cars with Sens. Richard Lugar and Elizabeth Dole. Lugar, a Republican who used to be mayor of Indianapolis, recalled the "awesome problems" of streakers in the raceway infield. He told her he drives a Prius. Dole (R-N.C.) said Munter is a woman "on a mission."

We promise to explain how a race driver can be an environmentalist. But first we want to point out that Munter, 32, was once named the Hottest Woman in NASCAR by FHM magazine. She started racing stock cars in 2001. She tried out a car on the test track and an instructor told her she was good enough to go pro. "It was such a magical feeling," she recalls.

She was competing to rise in the ranks of NASCAR when she decided last year to race open-wheel cars instead. Now she competes in the Indy Pro Series. A couple of years ago she placed fourth in the Konica Minolta 100 at Texas Motor Speedway. At the time, it was the highest finish ever for a female driver at that level.

But, like many female drivers, she has trouble getting sponsors.

Other ways in which she is an unusual race-car driver:

¿ She did stunts in the movie "The Scorpion King" and was a photo double for Catherine Zeta-Jones in "America's Sweethearts" and "Traffic."

¿ She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in biology.


CONTINUED     1        >

More Climate Change News

In the Greenhouse

Special Report

The Post's series on the science behind climate change.

Global Warming News

Headlines

Continuous reports on the science and politics of global warming.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company