Everyone knows of Danica Patrick but before Danica was even born, a lady by the name of Janet Guthrie was the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.
Guthrie participated in three races at the brickyard and made history while doing so, qualifying for the Indy 500 in 1977 and finishing ninth place in the Indy 500 in 1978, the best results from a woman racer until Patrick took fourth place in 2005.
Guthrie was originally an aerospace engineer after graduation from the University of Michigan. In 1976, Guthrie finished 15th, becoming the first woman to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Superspeedway race. She went on to compete in four more races after that year.
In 1980, she was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall Of Fame and in 2006 the International Motorsports Hall Of Fame. Her helmet and race suit can be viewed at the Smithsonian Institution and her mark in the history of sports will live on forever.