Posted By: Anne-Marie Rhodes, follow @annemarierhodes
I’ve known Marilyn Green for about 16 years now, she’s my agent, my friend, and like a second mother to me. She and I have shared many great memories together. I’ve always looked up to her, because she has so many traits that I admire. She’s a strong woman, a go getter, and has such a kind heart. Marilyn also has that great southern sassy personality that just makes her special. When I first met her when I was 15 with a mouth full of braces, she told me that she’d love to see me follow in her footsteps one day. As fate would have it, 36 years later I did just that.
You may be wondering what I mean by that. Let me explain. Marilyn Green was the first Miss Winston Cup back in 1971. So when I became the first Miss Sprint Cup in 2007, my phone rang and it was her on the other end saying how excited and proud she was that I shared that history with her as a first in the sport.
With tonight being the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction ceremony I found it fitting to interview someone who is a part of NASCAR history. She’s friends with all the greats of the sport and many of the ones that are in or are about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Reading Marilyn’s responses I couldn’t help but chuckle a lit bit at that differences from her time as Miss Winston, to my time as Miss Sprint. However, we do share one common thing, a piece of history for a sport that we both will always love.
Anne-Marie Rhodes: When did you become Miss Winston?
How long were you Miss Winston?
“2 years (71/72)”
Were you the first?
How did the program get started? How did you find out about it?
“RJR was taken off TV/Radio and they had a huge budget to spend in advertising. They felt NASCAR had a great fan base. A friend said RJR was interviewing for Miss Winston and insisted I go. Luckily I was chosen.”
What were your duties?
“Talking with newspaper and radio folks about RJR’s involvement in racing, getting to know the drivers and their families, meeting NASCAR officials, grand openings, riding in parades, handing out big checks/trophies in Victory Lane, being a goodwill ambassador for RJR, riding in the pace car before each race, and speaking with fans.”
Did you have to kiss the drivers in victory lane?
“Yes and it was fun!”
Describe your outfit.
1. White short short, white vinyl boots, red short sleeve & long sleeve tops w/ white trim. 2. A red/white pinstrip short short zip up suit and a red full length white piped jumpsuit, ALWAYS with white vinyl boots.”
When you see the girls today as Miss Sprint, does it make you feel good to know that you helped start the whole group?
“Absolutely. I’m glad to have been part of the program.”
What were some memorable moments from your time as Miss Winston?
“Getting to every race track in the US was exciting. Meeting Governors and Presidents. Getting to know some of the most famous drivers in the world. Including Richard Petty, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, and many others.”
What drivers stood out for you as maybe some of your favorites?
“Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Isaac”
What was NASCAR like during your time as Miss Winston compared to now?
“Not as much of an upscale corporate environment, not as many corporate sponsors, much more devoted to the “good ole’ boy” mentality, no speedway clubs or corporate suites.”
One last thought…I have been jokingly referred by my friends at Sprint as the “Godmother,” after my time as Miss Sprint Cup was complete. However I think Marilyn Green deserves that title. She is and always will be…the original.