March 7, 1938 – Janet Guthrie is born

Janet Guthrie raced her way into the history books when she became the first woman to compete in a top tier NASCAR Winston Cup race, finishing in 15th place at the 1976 World 600. Guthrie was born on this day in 1938 in Iowa City, Iowa. After graduating from the University of Michigan she became an aerospace engineer but she found a new love in 1964 when she began racing a Jaguar XK 140 in 1963. B7 1972 racing became a full time profession. Along from becoming the first woman to race at the highest levels of NASCAR, she was the first woman to compete in the Daytona 500, which she first qualified for in 1977. She finished 12th in the race, running the last 10 laps with two blown cylinders. Over four seasons and 33 races her highest finish was sixth place, a record which still stands in NASCAR, and was tied by Danica Patrick in 2014. NASCAR wasn’t Guthrie’s only series however. She was also the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500, qualifying for the race in 1977, finishing 29th with engine trouble. The next year she placed 9th and over 11 Indy races her best finish was fifth place. Janet Guthrie’s Wildcat 3-DGS, which she drove to ninth place in the 1978 Indianapolis 500. By Dan Wildhirt –, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Janet Guthrie

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