Janet Guthrie Could Be A First . . . Again
|In 1977, Janet Guthrie qualified for her first Indianapolis 500;|
she had tried and fallen short the previous year in part due to mechanical troubles.
It is hard not to be impressed when you look at the list of the inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. A total of thirty-five individuals have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Twenty-seven were inducted as drivers, eighteen of whom were inducted solely as drivers. The other nine were inducted for their accomplishments as both drivers and owners or broadcasters. Three were inducted for their roles as owners in the sport. Three were inducted as promoters of the sport. Two members were inducted as crew chiefs.
However, what you will not find in the list of Hall Of Fame winners is the name of a woman. Now, if you know anything about NASCAR, you know that Danica Patrick (first female to win a pole at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level) is far from the only female trailblazer to hit the fast lane. Aside from all the mothers, sisters, and wives who spend every spare moment supporting their driver, many women have proved influential and beneficial to the sport known as NASCAR.
For starters, you have Louise Smith,* a NASCAR pioneer. One must not forget record-setting driver Patty Moise.** How about Kelley Earnhardt Miller,*** who owned cars that made it into victory lane. There really are too many influential NASCAR Women to mention.
What brings this subject to NASCAR Race Mom’s pen at this time is the fact that Janet Guthrie’s name is on the list of Landmark Award Nominees. Yes, before there was a 'Go Daddy Girl' there was a 'Kelly Girl.'
Janet Guthrie moved on from a successful career as an aerospace engineer in the early 1960s, trading equations for a wheel to become a full-time racer in 1972. A true pioneer in motorsports, Guthrie became the first woman to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race when she drove to a 15th-place finish in the 1976 World 600.The next year, she piloted cars in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, becoming the first female to participate in both events. Guthrie steered her car to a sixth-place finish at Bristol in 1977, a career-best finish.Overall, the University of Michigan graduate made 33 premier series starts, logging five top-10 finishes. Guthrie was a member of the first class inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Her helmet and firesuit are on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
Would it not be a blast if a woman could finally join the elite!?!
The NASCAR Hall Of Fame
2010Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Bill France, Sr.
Bill France, Jr.
*Louise Smith’s 1939 Ford Coupe that was raced in the Modified Division on Daytona Beach in 1950—Smith racked up 38 Modified Division and Sportsman Division wins in her 10-year career that spanned 1946-1956
**Patty Moise’s 1990 Buick that set the all-time NASCAR speed lap record of 217.498 mph at Talladega Superspeedway on Jan. 23, 1990
***Kelley Earnhardt Miller is an American NASCAR co-owner of JR Motorsports. She is the daughter of Dale Earnhardt. She is the vice-president of JR Motorsports which she co-owns with her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr.