As a child, Wagner watched pylon racers from her yard. Years later, the Lakewood, OH native and Bowling Green University PhD earned a pilot’s license for the express purpose of becoming a pylon racer herself. She later acquired a commercial pilot’s license as well. Throughout her 28-year flying career, Wagner set records, won numerous pylon and point-to-point races and eventually became president of the National Women’s Pylon Racing Association. She was the first woman to compete in — and win — a Formula 1 event (1971). She participated in more cross-country races than any other female pilot and raced many times in closed-course competition in both the Women's Stock Class and F1. She preferred pylon racing, she said, because of the proximity. “In cross-country, you’re flying as hard as you can,” she said, “but you never see another racer. On the pylons, you have the sensation of racing.” A member of the 99 Flying Club, started by Amelia Earhart, Wagner died with her husband testing a new plane.