Tag Archives: women drag racers

Top Current Female Drag Racers

With the much overdone and yet historical 100th NHRA drag racing win for women finally coming to fruition with Courtney Force’s Funny Car victory at Topeka, it brought out the diversity angle once again.  Drag racing is by far the most diverse sport in the world with men and women of all colors battling each other head-to-head day-in and day-out.  With all that has been reported lately, it felt like as good a time as any to list the current female stars in drag racing.  They’re listed alphabetically.

Force DeJoria Enders-Stevens

Courtney Force, Alexis De Joria and Erica Enders-Stevens have all been winners in the NHRA this season.

Alexis De Joria – Her professional career is rather short for the 36 year old from Venice, California.  Alexis is only in her third full-time season driving the fuel floppers and yet she looked like a good pick to grab the 100th female win.  She currently resides in third place overall in the Funny Car ranks and has earned two wins already in 2014.  The daughter of Billionaire John Paul De Joria – he of hair product fame (Paul Mitchell), Alexis has coupled with Kalitta Motorsports and will likely be a force on the track for years to come.

Erica Enders-Stevens – The 31 year old Pro Stock points leader is from Houston, Texas, and the most accomplished of all the current professional women drag racers.  Erica has eight career meet victories and has more history-making runs and accomplishments than any of her contemporaries.  She drives for Elite Motorsports and has consistently been the fastest car this year in a division that arguably is the most competitive of all the professional categories.  Enders-Stevens might have the best chance at a championship of the women racers this year, which in-turn will make even more history for the superstar driver.

Brittany Force – The fastest of the women drag racers, the 27 year old Top Fuel pilot from Yorba Linda, California, has been making inroads in only her second season driving the ground-pounding monsters.  Brittany joined her sister this past week as number one qualifiers making the two Force girls, the first siblings to ever accomplish the feat on the same weekend.  Driving for her father John, Brittany looks ready to win her first event and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her competitive during the Countdown to the Championship (playoffs).  She’s a star in-the-making.

Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force

Rookies in 2013, both Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force are up-and-coming Top Fuel drivers to be reckoned with.

Courtney Force – The 26 year old has ascended to the top of newsmakers this year for drag racing but has had a relatively quiet third season so far – at least until winning Topeka Sunday.  That victory was the Yorba Linda native’s fourth of her short career and has brought her right into the thick of the championship battle.  The youngest of John’s daughters, Courtney has the drive and determination reminiscent of her father.  Having already made news last season as a winning Funny Car driver while baring it all in ESPN’s Body Issue, Courtney looks like a champion-in-waiting.  When?  Could be sooner than you think.

Leah Pritchett – She’s on the list even though Leah doesn’t run the full schedule.  Still, the 26 year old is a competitive Top Fuel driver and has shown to have the skills necessary to become a champion for years to come.  A former Nostalgia Funny Car champion, while also winning in Pro Mod, Pritchett, who is originally from Redlands, California, drives for the Dote family and her marketing abilities offer an advantage that most other drivers could only hope for.  Once she becomes a fulltime Top Fuel pilot with a competitive car, the talent is there and she could be a future star in the sport.

Source: NHRA

Daryle W. Hier

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Who is your all-time “favorite” woman drag racer?

I did a story on the Top 5 women drivers for drag racing and now I thought it should be your turn to decide not who’s the best but who is your “favorite” all-time female drag racer.

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Top 5 Female Drag Racers

First, let me apologize at the onset.  I’m not going to mention every famous femina drag racer in this category – just the top 5 that attracted MY attention.  Drag racing is really the only sport where women and men stand side-by-side in competition and these women here, shown more brightly than others.  Oh, BTW, femina is latin for female.  Onwards.

  • Number 5  Peggy Llewellyn – Peggy has in her own right, overcome hurdles that no one in drag racing has.  As both a woman and black woman at that (Jamaican/Mexican American descent), she has accomplished what no other black women have and that’s a Top 5 finish of the points in a NHRA Pro Series.  She’s also the only black woman to win a Final in a Pro class and further, is the only woman to qualify in the final NHRA Countdown.  Although her career has been relatively brief, her accomplishments have been far-reaching.  Hope to see her full-time in 2011.
  • Number 4  Ashley Force Hood – Ashley’s career, like Peggy’s hasn’t been long in the Pro ranks but it has been memorable.  Up until her wins, she was only known as the daughter of John Force and being voted “Hottest Athlete” in the world a few years ago.  But now Ashley is better known as the first woman to ever lead the Funny Car’s in points, plus she also was the first woman to ever win a Funny Car Final.  Within a handful of years, she’s the most accomplished woman Funny Car driver in history.  Ashley will be taking off the 2011 season to have a baby but I’m sure she’ll return soon.
  • Number 3  Bunny Burkett – Some of you may not remember Bunny but she was one the earlier drag racing women and actually won her first event in 1964.  She would become known as a successful Alcohol Funny Car driver (1986 IHRA Champion) in the 80’s and 90’s.  Her’s was a tough row, having to strut her stuff (yea, it wasn’t glamorous) in the early years to make a buck.  Many tough years of mending after accidents and health issues, Bunny was still making appearances through last year.
  • Number 2  Angelle Sampey – As the woman with the most championships and wins, Angelle’s career was remarkable to say the least.  During her best years from 2000-2002, she had no peer.  Angelle dominated Pro Stock bike like no one before or since and was a superstar for awhile.  Along with her 3 Championships, she also won 41 meets, an astounding fete for anyone, let alone a female motorcycle driver.  She also held a record of 182 consecutive races without a DNQ – unbelievable.  Angelle retired last year and is now about to have her first baby in a month or so.
  • Number 1  Shirley Muldowney – Not surprisingly, Shirley is the bellwether of women racers –  in all motorsports.  No woman racer is as consummate a leader and blazed a trail as wide and long as Shirley Muldowney has.  Ranked in the Top 5 all-time greatest drag racers, much has been written about Shirley.  Her path and shadow is huge and offers the others listed here and all other women racers, a course and direction that I’m sure will go down in the annals.  She had a hellacious accident in the 80’s that sideline her for a time but she battled back like everything else in her career.  A match-race phenom (to make money), Shirley still found time to win 3 NHRA Top Fuel Championships and is in every Hall of Fame she can be in.  What more can be said of one of greatest racers – and will probably always be #1.  Did she ever retire?

Yes, there are others who should be noted, such as past icons, Shirley Shahan, Lucille Lee and current women drag racers, Melanie Troxel, Erica Enders and Karen Stoffer.  On the Nostalgia side, Leah Leduc and Mendy Fry have made great strides.  Drag racing nowadays has more and more women all the time and they’re are many more coming up through the ranks.  We’re lucky.

Books on women in drag racing.

More on Shirley Muldowney.

Vote for your own favorite!

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