March is Women's History Month, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame has unveiled a new exhibit, "Women in the Winner's Circle," to highlight six decades of women in racing.
"From drivers to administrators to car owners, this special exhibit showcases the significant role women have played in the development and evolution of NASCAR," says Winston Kelley, NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director. "Female trailblazers like Anne B. France, who was recently nominated for the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR, to Danica Patrick, who was the first female to win a pole at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level, are celebrated in this limited-time exhibit."
Originally developed by The Henry Ford museum and the Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation, this traveling exhibit is making its first stop in Charlotte. The NASCAR Hall of Fame has also added core artifacts to the exhibit to complement the rich story of women in motorsports. Vehicles, driving uniforms, trophies and other memorabilia are on display including:
• Louise Smith's 1939 Ford Coupe that was raced in the Modified Division on Daytona Beach in 1950 -- Smith racked up 38 Modified Division and Sportsman Division wins in her 10-year career that spanned 1946-1956
• Sara Christian's driving uniform that she wore on Oct. 2, 1949, at Heidelberg Raceway in Pennsylvania, when she finished fifth, the best finish of any female in the Strictly Stock Division (now NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)
• Patty Moise's 1990 Buick that set the all-time NASCAR speed lap record of 217.498 mph at Talladega Superspeedway on Jan. 23, 1990
• Janet Guthrie's NASCAR license from 1977, the year she became the first female to compete in the Daytona 500
• Danica Patrick's 2013 GoDaddy Chevrolet -- Patrick was first female to win a pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
In addition, the exhibit includes artifacts from other former and current drivers such as Janet Guthrie, Johanna Long, Shawna Robinson and more. Influential women in NASCAR are also highlighted including Lesa France Kennedy, who serves as CEO of International Speedway Corporation and vice chairperson for the NASCAR Board of Directors.
On Wednesday, the NASCAR Hall of Fame partnered with NASCAR Diversity Affairs to host a "Women in the Winner's Circle" luncheon and panel discussion. Panelists included JR Motorsports Co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller, former IndyCar driver Lyn St. James, NASCAR VP and Deputy General Counsel Karen Leetzow and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Paige Decker. Moderated by SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Claire B. Lang, the panelists shared how their professional and personal experiences have helped pave the way for a new generation of women leaders in the motorsports industry.
The "Women in the Winner's Circle" exhibit will be on display through June. Tickets to the NASCAR Hall of Fame can be purchased by calling (877) 231-2010 or at nascarhall.com.