Pioneers in Auto racing: Female drivers

Pioneers in Auto racing: Female drivers

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  1. Over the years, auto racing has been a male-dominated sport, but once in a while, a fearless female will sneak into the ranks of drivers at Indy, Daytona, or Pomona. These are some of the women who have taken on the men in auto racing.

    Janet Guthrie – Guthrie was the first woman to compete in both the Indianapolis and Daytona 500s. A former pilot and aerospace engineer, she raced sports cars for 13 years before testing at Indy. In 1977, she became the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500 (she was the top rookie finisher), and later that year qualified for the Indy 500.

    Shirley Muldowney – Muldowney was the first woman to earn her NHRA drag racing license in 1965. She competed in Funny Cars and Top Fuel, where she won three championships (1977, 1980, and 1982).

    Lyn St. James – St. James was a winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring (1990), a two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona (1987 and 1990), and the first woman to win the Rookie of the Year award for the Indy 500 (1992). Today, she promotes the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation, which she founded in 1994 to mentor women in the motorsports and automotive industries.

    Sarah Fisher – as of 2010, Fisher has competed in nine Indy 500s – the most by any woman in the race’s history. The youngest woman to compete (age 19 – 2000), Fisher started her own team in 2008 and is the only female team owner and youngest team owner in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Fisher also spent two years in NASCAR, racing in the Winston West Series from 2004 to 2005.

    Angelle Sampey – Sampey (who also went by her married names Seeling and Savoie) was a three-time NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion (2000 to 2002) and winner of 41 races in her career – the most wins for any woman in NHRA competition.

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