Qualified and Finished: Janet Guthrie born March 7th 1938

Janet Guthrie was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on March 7, 1938.  Her family moved to Miami, Florida when she was three. She attended Miss Harris’ Florida School for Girls for all but one of her elementary through high-school years, then graduated from the University of Michigan in 1960 with a B.Sc. in physics. She joined Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, New York, as a research and development engineer, working on programs that were precursors to Project Apollo. In 1964, she applied for the first Scientist-Astronaut program, and got through the first round of eliminations. She treasures a letter from astronaut Deke Slayton, a memento of that attempt.

Meanwhile, she had purchased a Jaguar XK 120 coupe, and began competing in gymkhanas, field trials and hill climbs. This led to the purchase of a Jaguar XK 140 for competition in Sports Car Club of America races. Her career in physics slowly yielded to the allure of sports car racing, and by 1972 she was involved in racing on a full-time basis.  Along the way, she posted two class victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Her big break at the top level of the sport came in 1976, when long-time team owner and car builder Rolla Vollstedt invited her to test a car for the Indianapolis 500. That year, she also became the first woman to compete in a NASCAR Winston Cup superspeedway stock car race. In 1977, she became the first woman to qualify for and compete in the Indianapolis 500; she was also first woman and Top Rookie at the Daytona 500 in the same year. She finished ninth in the Indianapolis 500 in 1978.

Janet Guthrie’s helmet and driver’s suit are in the Smithsonian Institution, and she was one of the first athletes named to the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Her autobiography, “Janet Guthrie: A Life at Full Throttle” (Sport Classic Books), was published in 2005. In 2006, she was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame

GUTHRIE / AUTO: PLAYLIST ~~~

The Beach Boys , Fun, Fun, Fun
Deke Dickerson & The Ecco-Fonics , Hot Rodder’s Lament
Bo Diddley , Cadillac
Brian Setzer , ’59
Stray Cats , Look At That Cadillac – 2000 Digital Remaster / 24-Bit Mastering
Bob Seger , Makin’ Thunderbirds
The Buick 55’s , Buick 55
Jan & Dean , Dead Man’s Curve
The Customs , ’54 Corvette
The Del-Vikings , Flat Tire
Chuck Berry , Maybellene – Single Version
The Rip Chords , Hey Little Cobra
The Shangri-Las , Leader Of The Pack
Dave Crimmen , 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen , Hot Rod Lincoln
Kathy Mattea , 455 Rocket
Jerry Reed , Lord, Mr. Ford
The Firebirds , 59 Ford
The Medallions; Vernon Green , Push Button Automobile
Jackson Browne , Running on Empty
Jan & Dean , The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)
The Brian Setzer Orchestra , ’49 Mercury Blues
The Beach Boys , Little Deuce Coupe
Bruce Springsteen , Racing in the Street
Steve Gibbons Band , Jaguar And The Thunderbird
Ronny & The Daytonas , Bucket T
Dick Dale and his Del-Tones , 426-Super Stock
Chuck Berry , My Mustang Ford

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