Written by Moore Good Ink

Shirley Muldowney

First lady of drag racing Shirley Muldowney won three national Top Fuel championships: 1977, 1980 and 1982

Fascinating news circulated recently citing a possible come back for the remarkable Shirley Muldowney to NHRA Top Fuel drag racing. Apparently, plans for her return to competition involving a four-race program were defeated when potential sponsorship evaporated.

Originally from Burlington, Vermont she was known as the “First Lady of Drag Racing,” and a pioneering figure of the sport. In the nineteen seventies she was the first woman to receive a National Hot Rod Association license to drive a Top Fuel dragster, and during her professional career she won the Top Fuel championships of 1977, 1980 and 1982.

Although one of the most popular female drag racing drivers, Muldowney knew how to survive the rough and tumble of the profession she had chosen and, indeed, inspired the making of the movie Heart Like a Wheel, a 1983 biographical film based on her racing career. Moreover she was the first person to win two and then three Top Fuel titles. Driving with consistent brilliance she claimed 18 NHRA national events.

If sponsorship prevailed we could once again be mesmerized by the prospects of pink fire suits and helmets, already in her possession and awaiting action. Here is an exclusive image of Shirley Muldowney’s ride that might have been.

Muldowney, 18 NHRA national events

Driving with consistent brilliance Shirley Muldowney claimed 18 NHRA national events.


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