Paula Murphy
Paula Murphy
Category: Drag Racing
CLASS OF: 2017
BORN: January 1, 1928

First woman to drive a jet dragster
First woman licensed to drive a nitromethane-fueled car
One of the first women to obtain an NHRA license
Set a women’s closed-course record at Talladega Superspeedway
One of the top Funny Car match racers of ‘60s/early ‘70s
Set multiple women’s land speed records at Bonneville

Motorsports Series:


While she never achieved the level of prominence and acceptance enjoyed by Hall of
Famer Shirley Muldowney, Paula still played a pivotal role in drag racing's formative years. She was the first woman licensed to drive a supercharged fuel car and was a seasoned veteran when she received her NHRA license. She was a successful match racer, driving an STP-sponsored Funny Car in an era when few drivers had sponsorship of any kind. In 1963 she set a 161 mph women's speed record at Bonneville and later boosted her woman's land speed record to 236.37
mph in Walt Arfons' jet car. In the quarter-mile, she broke the 200 mph barrier and won the Olympics of Drag Racing and remained strong in Funny Car competition through the end of 1972, when a ride in a rocket-powered machine at Bonneville prompted her to switch to rocket dragsters. On her first full pass at Sears Point Raceway, the engine failed at 300 plus mph, causing a crash that ended her promising career.

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