Table of Contents DRO Store Classifieds Speed Connections Archives & Search Contact DRO



(click here to read Part 1)

Last month, Paula Murphy-- a.k.a. “Miss STP” or “The Flying Housewife”-- was honored by the NHRA as “Grand Marshal of the California Hot Rod Reunion,” in recognition of her driving talent, as showcased in a plethora of gender-oriented barrier-breaking rides. From Bonneville to the Brickyard, from Parker Avenue in Pomona to Talledega to Monaco, in everything from professional sports cars to stock cars, as well as nitro-burning Funny Cars to jets and rocket cars, Murphy was throwing down against both men and the clock, like Billie Jean King in a firesuit.

This is the second and final part of an interview conducted with DRO at a Denny’s in Sylmar. And although our subject may or may have not been eligible for the senior’s discount, we can assure the reader that money was no object, regardless of the posted age on anyone’s California Driver’s License.

We join the interview in progress, with Murphy discussing her death-defying rocket car crash in 1973 at what is now known as Infineon Raceway.

So you're saying when the rocket car accident happened it was at Sears Point...

Murphy: It was called Golden Gate then. In fact, in was the first full run we made on the car. I’d made few little check out passes, but that [was] a full-length. Supposedly when I lifted off the throttle, that was one fuel shut-off device and when I popped the chute it was supposedly another one. Well, none of the fuel shut off devices worked. Both chutes pulled off the car because it wasn't very firmly anchored to the chassis and off I went, till I run out of fuel. When I got down to the end, two guys were waiting to pick up the chute and help me get off of the track. I knew I was in trouble, but they didn't realize it! Not knowing the chutes came off, I pulled over to the right and that aimed me, fortunately down a dirt road. If those guys hadn’t of walked out to get me [and] gather me up, and get me off the strip, I never would have moved over and aimed myself down that little dirt road and through an open gate. Thank God the gate was open, otherwise I would have hit the fence. I'm lucky I survived it.

You said earlier that you thought that you were gonna die?

Murphy: Oh, yeah, 'cause I was going too fast, 'cause I was like 300 miles an hour, and this is it, this is the big one -

I hold the altitude record at Sears Point. I went up a hill and I don't remember anything else, I remember seeing blue, then that's the last thing I remember. I have a picture of the car and they guess it was about 90 feet in the air - and I came down, and fortunately it didn't roll it went end over end. The front was all scrunched up, but fortunately my tub was okay. My neck stretched you know, in going upside down and I smacked my head and broke my neck. When I came to, I was sitting upright in the car and there was a fireman running around [saying] “Get out of the car, there’s a fire.” And I said, “Well, I gotta sit here until I compose myself -- I think I have a little whiplash.” So I got out of the car and they took me to the hospital and I felt a little faint in the ambulance. We got there to the hospital and they parked me out in the hall on a gurney and finally someone came by and said, “Well, we're going to take you into x-ray.” So they x-rayed my neck and I asked them if I could have a shot of Demerol, 'cause my neck was hurting pretty bad by then, well, they gave me the shot and took me to x-ray and I don't remember a whole lot after that. Some man came up, some doctor so-and-so and I'm a neurosurgeon and you have a fracture. We're going to put you in intensive care, so I was out. I was so doped up. Then they put me in a cast from the top of my head on down - oh, that was awful.

Previously, you were driving a jet-powered car, right, for Tony Fox?

Murphy: No, that was the Pollution Packer.

You drove that in Bonneville?

Murphy: Yeah, we set a bunch of quarter mile records.


Copyright 1999-2004, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source