Guthrie, Janet Christine Beckers of Belgium became NASCAR's 10th female driver when she partnered Janet Gurthrie in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona, the 16th race of 1977. She finished 37th, having been knocked out after only 33 laps. The next year, she did not return to the sport.
Beckers was born on January 4, 1949 in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Bill and Wilma (Henderson) Beckers. Her father worked for the railroad and her mother stayed at home with their three children. When Beckers was 11 years old, her family moved to Gastonia, North Carolina where her father got a job at Wallburg-Rosenthal Motors. Here she started driving go karts at local tracks. At age 14, she won her first national championship in the Kart Racer Class.
In 1975, she graduated from high school and decided to pursue a career in racing. So she contacted several teams but could find no sponsors because there were so few women drivers at the time. Finally, she got a chance to drive in an exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway. It turned out to be the last race ever run at the original Daytona Beach Road Course. In 1976, she drove in seven more races without a win until 1978 when she took home her first trophy - the Virginia State Championship. That same year, she married Jim Guthrie who was also a racer.
For five years, Danica Patrick, possibly NASCAR's most renowned female driver, competed full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series (as well as part-time in two others). In the 2018 Daytona 500.. NASCAR Cup Series, she made her final start.
At least 121 women have qualified for and raced in one of NASCAR's touring series, with 16 of them competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. Shawna Robinson, Hailie Deegan, Manami Kobayashi, and Gracie Trotter are the only women who have won a race in one of NASCAR's touring series as of April 2021.
The all-female race was held for one season, 1970, at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina. The world premiere television event was staged to benefit programs benefiting women and children. It was sponsored by Mylar fabrics and broadcast by NBC Sports. Elva Drye led the entire field before she crashed out and finished sixth. This is the only time that an all-female race has been held at a NASCAR oval track. The race is also unique because it was open to stock cars and modifieds rather than just trucks.
There have been at least five other races where only female drivers have competed, three of which were held at Daytona International Speedway. In addition to the all-female race, the following women have competed in two separate events at the same race track: Cindy Parrish (1985), Wendy Lee Warren (1987), and Janet Guthrie (1988).
In 2011, Danica Patrick became the first woman to win a race in the now-defunct Nationwide Series when she captured the pole for that year's season-opening Toyota Owners 400 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Johanna Long, the Snowball Derby champion, started the Camping World Truck Series at the age of 19 in 2011, becoming the series' youngest female driver.
The most recent driver fatality in NASCAR's top series happened in February 2001, when Dale Earnhardt was killed during the Daytona 500.
Shawna Robinson raced in each of the three NASCAR Touring Series. She is one of just 16 women to have ever raced in the NASCAR Cup Series, and one of only three female drivers to have competed in the Daytona 500. Robinson is the first woman to win a top-tier NASCAR race.
Guthrie's best finish came in 1977, when she finished sixth at Bristol Motor Speedway. That is still the greatest result by a woman in NASCAR's top series in the modern era, a record shared by Danica Patrick in 2014. Guthrie was one of the first women to be inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
There have been several other women who have competed in stock car races during the modern era, but they are not considered members of the Cup Series. In fact, there is only one current female driver in the Cup Series: Danica Patrick. She has won two races so far this season and has a career total of 14 victories. Patrick is also one of only three women to win a race in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series (the others are Guthrie and Billie Jean King).
There have been several other women who have competed in sports car races during the modern era, but they are not considered members of the GTD class. A few women have also raced in the IndyCar Series, but none currently compete there. There have been several other women who have attempted to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 over the years, but they have never been granted an opportunity to race there.
In conclusion, Guthrie is one of the best drivers to ever compete in NASCAR.
A woman has not qualified for or competed in a Formula One World Championship race in approximately 45 years. Only two women have competed in an F1 Grand Prix out of more than 900 drivers. (The first was Maria Teresa de Filippis in 1958, followed by Lella Lombardi in 1975 and 1976.)
The only female driver to have participated in every Grand Prix since the beginning is Jackie Stewart. He died in 1983 at the age of 44 years.
Women have driven in other forms of motorsport including rally and sportscars. Famous female rally drivers include Erika von Däniken, Ellenberger, and Christiane Scherer.
Sportscar racing is another popular form of motorsport for both men and women. Women have taken part in various events such as the Ladies European Trophy and British Touring Car Championship. Sportscars are also used as support races during Grand Prix events. The most famous female sportscar driver is Arianna Furilli.
In addition to these activities, women have also competed in autocross, drifting, indoor rally, supercars, and vintage cars.
The oldest female racer is Elsie Langford, who was 26 years old when she competed in the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race. She came in last place but still won $10,000.
Neither woman finished the race.
Women have been allowed to drive in Formula 1 since 2010, but only as passengers. Female drivers are not permitted because the cars are designed for men to drive them. The girls get to sit in the car but they can't steer it or push buttons to control the gearbox.
There have been attempts to make the sport more accessible for women, such as the Women's World Championship for Formula 1 drivers which ran from 1990 to 1994. But the majority of drivers still come from wealthy families who can afford to pay for their careers. Only five women have won races so far in F1's history.
The most famous female driver today is Nico Hulkenberg, who has raced for Renault and then currently drives for Force India. Before joining F1, he raced in the German Touring Car Championship for four years from 2006 to 2009. He also made one appearance in the Indianapolis 500 in 2011.