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

Was that an attempt to hold the female Land Speed Record?

Murphy: No, it was just quarter mile stuff, oh and then after that we went to the Winternationals in Pomona and I got to make a pass, in Pomona.

How much maneuvering and diplomatic rhetoric in getting you licensed in a rocket car?

Murphy: NHRA didn't care, 'cause I first started drag racing with a funny car. Originally, I had my Funny Car license for 6 months or something like that and NHRA pulled my license. They said it was an unsafe category for women to participate in and the only thing we could drive was super stock. Shirley Muldowney and myself were in more or less dragster-type cars: funny cars, fuel cars. At that time, Shirley didn't have a (nitro) license; she had a dual engine Top Gas car...

Anyway, Andy Granatelli and STP put up a great deal of contingency money. I guess Andy said, okay, Wally (Parks of NHRA), if you don't give our girl her license back; we're going to pull our contingency money.

Very shortly thereafter I got my license back.

Do you think Andy Granatelli’s motives were for women's suffrage?

Murphy: He was the PT Barnum of the Automotive World.

But he had to be somewhat progressive on order not to take any guff, you know from the NHRA in the 1960s.

Murphy: Oh right.

When did you first go over to England with the Miss STP funny car?

Murphy: 1972. We raced not only there, two weekends in Santa Pod, then another weekend we went down to a RAF base near Brighton. But Brighton got rained out.

So in ‘64 you went to Indy and so you were doing Bonneville and Indy. When did it lead to Super Stock cars?

Murphy: In '65. I was in a ‘65 Oldsmobile that Dick Landy had driven and prepared. Then I had a ‘66 that he prepared and we ran C/Stock Automatic. We kept getting protested because he put in a 4-speed station wagon transmission in the thing and it was really supposed to be just a 3-speed. The Buicks had the 4-speed, and they just killed us all the time. Then Landy put the 4-speed in. They would say, “I can hear another shift... We can hear another shift.” But the tech people never tore the transmission out of the thing, because it looked just like a regular 3 speed.

That's classic - So you guys were touring with this car?

Murphy: No, we just ran locally in California.

So what was it like doing all these different things and all of a sudden you're on a blown 392 on nitro?

Murphy: Well, the first time I ran the (funny) car I was at Lions, and I forget how long it took to get a license. I think it was three times. Don Garlits and Tom McEwen signed my UDRA license, that was the first license I got, and then I got my NHRA license. It was different, sitting in the middle of a funny car with that weird outfit on. It made a lot of noise and burned your eyes.

Did it scare you?

Murphy: No. It was just different.

You’ve had so many different forms of propulsions.

Murphy: I prefer sports car racing to any other racing I've done. You're in the car for a little while and you get turn right and left it takes greater skill to be a good competitive road racer than to step on the pedal and go a quarter mile. You're only as good as your mechanic -- and how much nerve you've got!

So you drove an IndyCar when women weren’t allowed on Gasoline Alley. Did you realize what a real trailblazer you were when this was happening?

Murphy: Oh yeah. Being first one out on the (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway that was a tremendous thrill.

Janet Guthrie did okay there, but there really hasn’t been much of feminine presence there, compared to say, Top Fuelers in drag racing.


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