Melanie Troxel
9 Images

Fast women

Melanie Troxel
Melanie Troxel, who has three NHRA victories in top fuel competition, won the funny car title at the 8th O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. (Associated Press)
Ashley Force
Ashley Force became the first female driver to win an NHRA national event when she took the 28th Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals in Atlanta this spring. (Richard Shute / US Presswire)
Ashley Force, John Force
Ashley Force receives a kiss from her father and racing team owner John Force after winning the Southern Nationals in Atlanta. (Richard Shute / US Presswire)
Shelly Anderson
Shelly Anderson, shown with her brother Randy, collected four top fuel victories in the 1990s, her last coming in 1996 at Seattle. (Los Angeles Times)
Shirley Muldowney
Known as the Queen of Drag Racing, Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney (shown in an undated autographed photo) started her racing career in the 1960s by driving funny cars. She became the first female to reach an NHRA final in any class in the early ‘70s. She had 18 top fuel victories during her career, the last coming in 1989 at Phoenix. (
Paula Murphy
Paula Murphy is believed to be the first female driver in the funny car division, enjoying a career from 1966 to 1972. Although she wasn’t a threat on the national circuit, she gained fame in match races, earning the nickname “Mrs. STP.” (
Rodalyn Knox
Rodalyn Knox became a successful funny car driver in the late 1970s. Known as the “Country Girl,” she ran mainly on the East Coast before moving to the national level in 1978. Knox and her husband John left drag racing to enjoy a successful career in tractor pulls in the 1980s. (
Bonnie Philson, Warlock
Bonnie Philson became a Northern California celebrity after she got a chance to drive the “Warlock III” of Frank Pitts. With her husband Leroy, she raced for more than 30 years starting in the late 1970s. (
Della Woods
Della Woods, shown in an autographed photo from the 1970s, might be the only female to race in four decades -- the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Best known for match racing with her “Funny Honey” super stock car, she made the switch to funny cars in the ‘90s. (