Shirley Muldowney (Bristol Dragway photo)

Muldowney Named Legend Of The Valley

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Shirley Muldowney never raised a trophy at historic Bristol Dragway, but don’t let that glaring stat distract from her over-arching victory she claimed through her tenacity as a pioneering trailblazer in motorsports.

One so significant that women across the country continuously offer praise and thanks to her, because of her efforts they are now able to compete and win in professional and sportsman drag racing.

Muldowney, who thrilled fans at the controls of her famously pink dragsters throughout many competitive races at Bristol Dragway and signed every single autograph for her legion of fans who came out to cheer her on, will be inducted into the prestigious Legends of Thunder Valley, the iconic track’s official hall of fame, during the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 7-9.

Muldowney, 83, is the 21st inductee in the Legends of Thunder Valley and becomes the first female racer to be enshrined in the exclusive club that also includes Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, NHRA founder Wally Parks, John Force, Don Schumacher and Scotty Cannon, to name a few.

She will be presented with the customary Legends of Thunder Valley plaque by Bristol Motor Speedway president and general manager Jerry Caldwell during pre-race ceremonies, which begin at 11 a.m. The accompanying sign showcasing her name in brilliant red will be installed upon the grandstand suite fascia as part of the ceremony.

“Shirley Muldowney has meant so much to the sport of drag racing and her fire and will to compete carried her to a hall of fame career,” said Jerry Caldwell, president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway. “She has competed many times at Bristol Dragway over the years and won over the fans from around our region. They truly love her and cheered her on every chance they got. Her world record speed of 302 miles per hour set here in 1997 stands out as one of her best performance accomplishments at Thunder Valley. We are so excited to induct Shirley into the Legends of Thunder Valley, for all that she has meant to the sport of drag racing and Bristol Dragway.”

Muldowney was one of only a few drivers to compete at the scenic dragstrip in all three major sanctions, National Hot Rod Ass’n, International Hot Rod Ass’n and American Hot Rod Ass’n and she claimed two IHRA runner-up finishes and set one IHRA national speed record at 302.08 mph in June 1997.