The Lyn St. James Foundation recognized the late Barbara Parks’ achievements in the world of NHRA drag racing today by presenting the Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award in her honor during the fourth annual Women in the Winner’s Circle luncheon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mrs. Parks, wife of NHRA founder Wally Parks and a driving force behind the early successes of the 54-year-old sanctioning body, succumbed to cancer in late January after a long battle with the devastating illness. In contrast to the many women who take the much deserved spotlight as a result of their untiring efforts to contribute to the progress of automotive hobbies and racing, Mrs. Parks, by her own choice remained in the background. But she was a force — an important, determined and very creative influence — in the earliest days of the founding of hot rodding and, of course, the National Hot Rod Association and championship drag racing.

She was active to the end, remaining at her husband’s side as he pursued with painstaking effectiveness the efficient operation of an NHRA museum, a monument to the sport’s illustrious history and a showcase of the archival record of NHRA drag racing. Many of the features showcased in the museum, now named for its founder as The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, are the product of Barbara’s vision, creativeness and talents.

The Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award annually recognizes the achievements of a woman who through her passion and dedication for many years, demonstrates how much women have contributed to the motorsports industry.

NHRA President Tom Compton accepted the prestigious award and read a statement from Barbara’s devoted husband, who was unable to attend the event.

“On behalf of Barbara and all of us at NHRA, let me express our genuine appreciation for this premium recognition and for the years of friendship she enjoyed among you – especially here in Indianapolis,” Wally Parks said in the statement. “She was a trooper – totally dedicated to a very special sport’s advancements in which the ladies have been active in important roles since day one. As she often pointed out, it was the people involved – not the race cars – that she appreciated most in five decades with NHRA. Thank you for honoring her memory with this very special tribute.”

Said Compton: “On behalf of Wally and the entire NHRA family, we want to thank Lyn St. James and the Lyn St. James Foundation for recognizing Barbara’s immeasurable contribution to the sport and honoring her with the Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award as part of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Luncheon. The entire NHRA family owes a tremendous amount of thanks to Barbara Parks for what she accomplished and her influence on the sport will be everlasting.”

Related Issue: Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women
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