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Janet Guthrie
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Auto Racer
    (March 7, 1938- )
    Born in Iowa City, Iowa
    First woman to compete at the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 (both 1977)
    Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2006)
    Wrote the autobiography 'Janet Guthrie: A Life at Full Throttle' (2005)
    She got started in amateur weekend races in supermarket parking lots.
    She said of the early days, 'All I did was race and starve to death.'
    Her racing career was cut short by the difficulty in finding sponsors.
    She complained about Danica Patrick posing for FHM, claiming it took away from her credibility: 'I'm not really happy about the route Danica has taken.'
    Before taking up racing, she was a pilot, flight instructor and aerospace engineer.
    She initially faced a lot of hostility from fans and other drivers.
    She said about breaking into NASCAR and Indy racing, 'I knew being a woman didn't make any difference; the only trouble was nobody else seemed to know that, so there was quite a bit of commotion.'
    She finished 9th at the 1978 Indy 500 despite a broken wrist, with Gordon Johncock admitting, 'I don't know if I could have done it.'
    Her helmet and driver's suit are in the Smithsonian.

Credit: C. Fishel

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