Indianapolis: Muldowney returns

CLERMONT, Ind. - Three-time NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney will make a special one-race return to NHRA competition this season at the 46th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The...

CLERMONT, Ind. - Three-time NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney will make a special one-race return to NHRA competition this season at the 46th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The first female ever licensed to drive a Top Fuel dragster, Muldowney claimed an unprecedented NHRA Winston championship in 1977, followed by additional championship titles in '80 and '82. Muldowney, who resides in Armada, Mich., last competed in an NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series national event in October 1997, at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. At that event she qualified 19th with a 4.882 second elapsed time, just missing the 16-car starting lineup. Her last NHRA Winston top 10 points finish came in 1990 (10th), but she has remained active in the sport with numerous appearances in match races at dragstrips across the United States. She has also competed on the IHRA circuit in recent seasons, clocking a top speed of 319 mph and an elapsed time best of 4.741 seconds. She will drive the Goosehead.com dragster when qualifying opens for the U.S. Nationals, which will be contested Aug. 30-Sept. 4 at the historic quarter-mile facility located just west of metropolitian Indianapolis. The $2.6 million race is the 17th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Muldowney, 60, is the only female competitor to claim a Top Fuel victory at drag racing's most prestigious event, winning there in 1982. She defeated rival Connie Kalitta for the win that day. "I'm really looking forward to racing at Indy," said Muldowney, winner of 18 NHRA national event titles, her last coming in 1989 at Phoenix. "There's no other race like the NHRA U.S. Nationals, and I'm proud to have been the only woman to have ever won a professional title there. Rahn (Tobler, husband and crew chief) and I would like nothing better than to have an impact on this year's points race, and I think we can do that with a good showing at Indy."

Goosehead.com is a web site created for teen-agers, owned by 15-year-old Southern California entrepreneur Ashely Power.

"It's really an honor for me to be representing Goosehead.com at Indy," Muldowney said. "Believe me, this young woman is truly something special. She's taken the concept of a teen-oriented web site and made it into a very special meeting place for young people, but it's really a lot more than that. When you surf through the site you'll be blown away by how neat it is, and Ashley gets the credit for that."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Connie Kalitta