NHRA congratulates Patrick on her IndyCar series victory NHRA congratulates Danica Patrick on her recent IndyCar Series victory in Japan, as she joins a long list of NHRA female racers who have won major auto racing events dating back to the mid-1970s.
NHRA's first major female winner was Shirley Muldowney, who earned a Top Fuel victory in 1976. She has been followed by eight other women who have won major national events in the 57-year history of NHRA. The most recent, Peggy Llewellyn, became the first black woman to win an NHRA race, claiming the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory in Dallas last October. Angelle Sampey, who competes in Pro Stock Motorcycle, has the most NHRA victories for a woman with 41. Muldowney, who earned 18 NHRA victories in her career, and Sampey each have won three NHRA world championships.
Other women to earn NHRA Professional-category victories are Lucille Lee (Top Fuel), Lori Johns (Top Fuel), Shelly Anderson (Top Fuel), Cristen Powell (Top Fuel), Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle), and Melanie Troxel (Top Fuel).
In 1966, Shirley Shahan officially broke the gender barrier in NHRA competition by becoming the first woman to win a national event, claiming a victory in Stock at the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.
NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. According to an ESPN Sports Poll, NHRA is the second-most popular form of auto racing in the United States.
Women in NHRA Drag Racing, a brief history
Female leaders in NHRA victories
1. Angelle Sampey, Pro Stock Motorcycle, 41 (first in Reading, 1996, last in Houston, 2007)
2. Shirley Muldowney, Top Fuel, 18 (first in Columbus, Ohio, 1976, last in Phoenix, 1989)
3. Karen Stoffer, Pro Stock Motorcycle, 5 (first in Houston, 2004, last in Atlanta, 2007)
4. Shelly Anderson, Top Fuel, 4 (first in Reading, 1993, last in Seattle, 1996)
Lori Johns, Top Fuel, 4 (first in Pomona [Winternationals], 1990, last in Memphis, 1991)
6. Melanie Troxel, Top Fuel, 3 (first in Pomona [Winternationals], 2006, last in Madison, 2007)
7. Lucille Lee, Top Fuel, 1 (Atlanta, 1982)
Cristen Powell, Top Fuel, 1 (Englishtown, 1997)
Peggy Llewellyn, Pro Stock Motorcycle, 1 (Dallas, 2007)
Female leaders in qualifying
Angelle Sampey, PSM, 44 (first in Reading, 1996, last in Reading 2007)
Shirley Muldowney, TF, 13 (first in Columbus, Ohio, 1976, last in Phoenix, 1989)
Melanie Troxel, TF, 3 (first in Bristol, 2006, last in Denver, 2007)
Lucille Lee, TF, 1 (Denver, 1982)
Lori Johns, TF, 1 (Denver ,1991)
Shelly Anderson, TF, 1 (Pomona [Finals], 1994)
Cristen Powell, TF, 1 (Seattle, 1998)
Erica Enders, PS, 1 (Topeka, 2006)
Female series world champions
Shirley Muldowney, Top Fuel -- 3, 1977, 1980, 1982
Angelle Sampey, Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 3, 2000, 2001, 2002
Women in NHRA notes
Barbara Hamilton was the first woman to receive an NHRA license, in 1964.
Shirley Shahan was the first woman to win an NHRA national event, in 1966: Stock at the Winternationals in Pomona.
Shirley Muldowney was the first woman to earn her license in Top Fuel and later became the first woman to clock a four-second run, 4.974, at the 1989 NHRA Keystone Nationals in Reading.
Muldowney was the first female to advance to a final round in Top Fuel, in 1975 in Columbus, Ohio, (lost to Marvin Graham).
Muldowney was the first woman to win in Top Fuel, in 1976 in Columbus, Ohio, defeating Bob Edwards; she earned 18 victories, second all-time for women behind Angelle Sampey (41).
Muldowney was the first female to qualify No. 1 in a Pro category, in 1976 in Columbus with a performance of 6.031, 229.00.
Muldowney was the first driver (either gender) in NHRA history to repeat as Top Fuel champion after her initial title in 1977 (1980 and 1982).
Muldowney was the only female driver to be included in NHRA's list of top 50 drivers as part of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2001. She was ranked fifth on the
prestigious list ahead of Kenny Bernstein (sixth) and Joe Amato (ninth).
Muldowney versus Lucille Lee was the first and only all-female Top Fuel final in NHRA history, taking place in 1982 in Columbus. Muldowney won. Sampey versus Karen Stoffer in Pro Stock Motorcycle (Reading, 2002) is the only other all-female Professional final in NHRA history. Sampey won.
Sampey is the first female to win a world championship in Pro Stock Motorcycle (three-time champ -- 2000, 2001, 2002); Sampey also is the female Pro competitor with the most victories, 41.
Rachelle Splatt was the first female to clock a 300-mph run in NHRA history, posting a speed of 300.00 mph at Houston Raceway Park in 1994. On that run, she became the 16th and final member (only female member) of the Slick 50 300-MPH Club.
Melanie Troxel is the quickest woman in NHRA history, clocking a time of 4.458 seconds (October 2005, Dallas); Hillary Will is the fastest woman at 334.65 mph (February 2008, Pomona).
Shelly Anderson is the first and only woman to win the NHRA Top Fuel Shootout, a lucrative bonus event for the quickest Top Fuel competitors. She won in1994, her only final-round appearance in the event, and remains the only woman to ever advance to the final for the Shootout. She also is the only female to have ever won an NHRA bonus event.
Erica Enders is the only female to have qualified for the K&N Horsepower Challenge, a special bonus event for Pro Stock drivers.
No female driver has ever won in Funny Car or Pro Stock.
No female driver has ever qualified No. 1 in Funny Car.
Enders became the first woman to advance to a final round in Pro Stock, in 2005 in Chicago. She defeated Ron Krisher, Mike Edwards, and Warren Johnson in early rounds before losing to Jason Line on a red-light in the final. She advanced to her second final in March 2006 in Gainesville and posted a runner-up finish to Tom Martino.
Ashley Force became the first female driver to advance to a final round in Funny Car in Las Vegas (fall) in 2007; she advanced to her second final in Houston in 2008 and third in Las Vegas (spring) in 2008.
Erica Enders became the first woman to qualify No. 1 in Pro Stock history in 2006 in Topeka.
Troxel (TF) and Enders (PS) became the first women to earn No. 1 qualifying positions in Pro categories at the same national event(Topeka, 2006).
Lucinda McFarlin, of Victoria, Texas, and Enders, of Houston, are the only female Pro Stock drivers to win a round of eliminations in the 200-mph category. McFarlin defeated Don Beverley in the first round of the 1992 national event in Memphis for her only round-win, and Enders earned her first round-victory by defeating Rickie Smith in the first round in Reading in 2005. Judy Lilly, Shahan, and Shay Nichols have qualified for NHRA events in Pro Stock but did not win a round of eliminations.
Women have won back-to-back national events during three seasons --1982, when Muldowney won Top Fuel in Gainesville, followed by Lee in Atlanta; 2004, when Stoffer won Pro Stock Motorcycle in Houston and Sampey won the following event in Atlanta; and 2007, when Stoffer won in Gainesville, Sampey won the following event in Houston, and Stoffer won the next event in Atlanta.
Troxel (TF) holds the record for most consecutive final-round appearances for a woman in a Professional category, at six (2005 Pomona [Finals] - 2006 Las Vegas [spring]).
Troxel holds the record for most consecutive final rounds by a Top Fuel driver (any gender) to begin a season in NHRA history, at five (2006).
With her victory in Dallas in 2007, Llewellyn became the first black female to win in a Pro category in NHRA history.
Karen Stoffer - The most female drivers in Professional categories to compete in a single NHRA POWERade Series event is eight, multiple times in 2007 (first in Madison). Those women included participants in each of the four Pro categories: Troxel and Will in Top Fuel; Force in Funny Car; Enders in Pro Stock; and Sampey, Stoffer, Llewellyn, and Connie Cohen in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The most women to advance to final rounds at a single event is three, in Gainesville in 2006. Sampey won in PSM, and Troxel (TF) and Enders (PS) posted runner-up efforts.
Eight women have qualified No. 1 in a Pro category in NHRA history: Muldowney, Lee, Johns, Anderson, Powell, Sampey, Troxel, and Enders. The most No. 1 qualifying positions earned by a female in NHRA history is 44 by Sampey.
Nine women have won in a Pro category in NHRA history: Muldowney, Lee, Johns, Anderson, Powell, Sampey, Stoffer, Troxel, and Llewellyn. The most victories earned by a female in NHRA history is 41 by Sampey NHRA PR
In other words, the NHRA is trying to say what is all the hype about Danica Patrick because woman drivers have been winning races and championships in the NHRA for years.