Wednesday, June 7, 2017

40th Anniversary of Janet Guthrie's Race at Indy 500-- Part 2

Janet Guthrie, 79, wanted to be an astronaut.  Both her parents were pilots and she learned to fly at age 16.  When she tried to become an astronaut, she was rejected in 1963 and then turned her attention to racing cars.

Unlike her male counterparts, she could get no sponsorships (and it is very expensive to race those cars)  She couldn't even get any funding.  She built her own engines, did her own body work.  She'd tow her Jaguar XK 140 behind an old station wagon (which she bought for $45) around the country.  At night, she'd sleep in the station wagon.

Racing has come a long way for women since then

Her career changed in 1976 when Rolla Volstedt called.  He was an innovative, low-budget team owner from Portland, Oregon, who wanted to take the first female driver to the Indy 500.  No woman had ever raced it before.


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