didn't open the door; she kicked it in'
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Heart Like a Wheel - The
Drag racing superstar Shirley Muldowney, who in
1965 became the first woman licensed by the
National Hot Rod Association, officially retired in
2003, but she still attends some NHRA racing
events, serving as a sponsor rep for one of the
cars on the Kalitta Motorsports team. "I spend a
lot of time with the fans at the track," says
Muldowney, 65, who was portrayed by actress Bonnie
Bedelia in the 1983 movie Heart Like a Wheel from a
book teens and adults may enjoy reading. She's also
there to support her husband, Rahn Tobler, a racing
crew chief. "I miss driving, but I don't miss
the travel. I have pets that I'm very close with,
and I'm always in a hurry to get back to my
babies." Muldowney, who resides near Ann Arbor,
Michigan, paved the way for all women racers and
says she is very proud of winning four world
championships, but most proud of winning the U.S.
Nationals in 1982. "I won Indy, and if a racer
doesn't have Indy as one of their credits, they
still haven't done it." In her last year, she ran a
4.579 ET (327 mph) at Chicago's fall event.
Shirley's Web Site - www.muldowney.com
Biography - www.muldowney.com/bio1.html
Awards - www.muldowney.com/awards.html
Photo Gallery starting in 1960.- www.muldowney.com/gallery.php
Source: American Profile,
Like a Wheel - The Movie
Feminism, burning rubber and (many said) the
sleeper of its year (1983). It's out on DVD.
Though Bonnie Bedelia has only occasionally
gotten roles worthy of her, she earned wide acclaim
and a Gold Globe nomination playing the National
Hot Rod Association's "first lady of drag racing"
Shirley Muldowney (for a while nicknamed "Cha
Cha"). This is a memorable movie about crashing
through male-imposed roadblocks and its heroine's
volatile personal relationship with racer Connie
Kalitta (Beau Bridges) is a bonus. Fans of
country-flavored biopics will likely enjoy this -
though, in truth, Muldowney is from Schenectady,
NY. Extras include an interview with Muldowney
including discussion of her 1984 track accident, a
wonderful bull session where she joins Kalitta and
racer Don "Big Daddy" Garlits, and much more.
Also starring Ellen Geer as her sister.
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