Driver Shannon McIntosh vies for Seventeen cover

Tue, Aug 30
9:56
AM ET

If this has made Shannon McIntosh famous, she's certainly not feeling it.

After the 22-year-old USF2000 driver was chosen as one of five finalists for Seventeen Magazine's "Pretty Amazing" real girl cover contest, the magazine flew her and the other four out to New York for makeovers, photo shoots and meet-and-greets.

The experience, documented in a half-hour MTV special about the competition that will air on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET, was a "whirlwind" for McIntosh, but hasn't really altered her goals of becoming the first female racer to win the Indianapolis 500, even if some recognized her on the Big Apple's streets.

"I've always been na´ve to being a woman in racing and breaking barriers and stuff like that, so for me it was humbling and opened my eyes to the accomplishments of these other girls," said McIntosh, who will herself find out on Tuesday whether she will grace the Seventeen cover. "I don't feel more famous or anything, because that's not the objective for me. It's about helping for the next step in my career and getting my story out there."

The story is one of perseverance. She worked three jobs during college and, after she began racing, would nanny and call sponsors while competing. Now she's the only female on the USF2000 circuit.

While in New York, that familiar resolve surfaced yet again. With little preparation, the five finalists had to speak to an auditorium filled with girls their age. McIntosh went up, sans notecards, and spoke from the heart.

"The other girls were kind of freaking out because we only had about 30 minutes to put some notes down on paper," said McIntosh, who had MTV cameras following her daily to shoot for the show. "I told a little bit about my background, how I don't come from money. I wanted to give that message that wherever you come from and whatever your background is, you can do whatever you put your mind to."

For most, a magazine cover would be the final frontier, the ultimate opportunity for national recognition. For McIntosh, currently eighth in driver points with two races remaining in her rookie season, it's just a stepping stone to furthered exposure for an already bright career.

"Everything that's come with this, whether we get the cover or not, is invaluable," McIntosh said, "and we've been able to utilize that throughout this whole thing, whether it's for more sponsorships or more opportunities."