Denise McCluggage
Denise McCluggage
Category: At Large
CLASS OF: 2022
BORN: January 20, 1927
DIED: May 6, 2015

Pioneering driver and motorsports journalist
Driving force behind Autoweek magazine
1st female sports reporter for major daily (New York Herald Tribune
Successful sports car driver for top teams
Class wins at Sebring and the Monte Carlo Rally 
1st woman to win Ken W. Purdy writing award (1985)


Few fueled the rise of sports car racing in the U.S. more than McCluggage. Without her, there would’ve been no Autoweek, the sport's bible in the ‘60s and ’70s. She also was a fine driver who paved the way for other women. Joining the New York Herald Tribune in the 1950s, she became the first female sports reporter for a major daily. She convinced her editor she could better cover the sport if she participated in it and drove for some of its foremost teams: Ford, Porsche, NART, Camoradi and Briggs Cunningham. Successes included first in GT at Sebring in 1961, first in class at the Monte Carlo Rally and class and overall victories at a number of tracks in the U.S. and Europe. (She was famously denied entry at Le Mans because of her gender.) She wrote the syndicated column Drive, She Said and in 1985 became the first woman to receive the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism. McCluggage was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2001.

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