Historic World Events / July / “First Lady” of NASCAR Louise Smith born
“First Lady” of NASCAR Louise Smith born

“First Lady” of NASCAR Louise Smith born

On today in 1916, the long run racing legend Louise Smith, who’ll turn into the initial lady inducted in to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, exists in Barnesville, Georgia.

In the mid-1940s, the racing promoter Bill France was looking for a lady driver in an effort to attract spectators for some of the first events in what would turn into the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) circuit. Before a race near Greenville, South Carolina, in 1946, he been aware of Louise Smith, a regional resident who was simply well-known for outrunning police on the roads. With France’s encouragement, Smith entered the race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in a 1939 Ford and finished third. Unaware a checkered flag meant the conclusion line, she kept going beyond the ultimate end of the race till an individual threw out a red flag.

Though her husband Noah, who owns a junkyard, didn’t approve of her new speed-demon profession, Smith was hooked. In 1947, she famously “borrowed” Noah’s new auto, a Ford coupe, and drove it to look at races in Daytona Beach, Florida. She wound up engaging in the race herself and wrecking the auto, an acknowledged fact she attemptedto conceal from him, not realizing that the news headlines had produced leading page of the Greenville paper before she returned residence. Smith subsequently became an ordinary on France’s new circuit, appearing in NASCAR events through the entire United States and Canada for another decade. She won 38 races and had some spectacular crashes, which include one in which her automobile overturned, earning her 48 stitches and four pins in her left knee. Dubbed the “Good Ol’ Gal” by her fellow drivers, Smith nonetheless struggled in the masculine globe of NASCAR. As she told the Associated Press in 1998: “Them men were not liking it to start with and they wouldn’t give you an inch.”

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Smith retired in 1956 but remained mixed up in racing globe: She sponsored various drivers, and was mixed up in Miss Southern 500 Scholarship Pageant at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. In 1999, she was inducted in to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama. Smith died in April 2006, at the age of 89.

Source: History