A prayer for local racing legend Shirley Muldowney

Do you remember Shirley Muldowney?  Do you remember the dozens of races she drove at Fonda Speedway?  Do you remember her as the first woman to earn a professional National Hot Rod Association driver’s license?  Do you remember that night in 1971 when she dominated the competition at Lebanon Valley Speedway? Do you remember her as winning several racing titles and championships in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s?

Here, let me refresh your memory.

Maybe you remember a female drag racer whose life story became the TV movie Heart Like A Wheel.  You might have a memory of that.

I mention these accolades to ask all of you to keep Shirley Muldowney in your thoughts and prayers.

The Schenectady native who went on to racing superstardom has announced on her personal blog that she is currently battling Stage II lung cancer, and is currently undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from one of her lungs.

This is sad and scary.   Unfortunately, cancer does not discriminate.  It hits old and young, male and female, and no matter how many Funny Car and Top Fuel races you’ve won, cancer is hard to outrun.

It’s not impossible… doctors and scientists have made tremendous advances in treating cancer.  But the race isn’t over yet.  Not by a million miles.

Shirley has fought for every win she ever earned.  Nothing was handed to her on a silver platter.  Her championships were against the top drivers in her sport, and even today she is an inspiration to millions of motorsports drivers, both male and female.

Even in this battle against her own cancer, Shirley has asked that any donations of support be sent not to her, but to a children’s charity known as Shirley’s Kids, a charity designated to help children in need and in crisis.

All thoughts and prayers of support to Shirley Muldowney.  And anyone who remembers Shirley’s great races at Fonda or at Lebanon Valley or at the major funny car or top fuel championship races… keep Shirley in your thoughts and in your heart.

She’s battled every sort of glass ceiling to reach the top of her profession.

The possibilities are still strong.




4 thoughts on “A prayer for local racing legend Shirley Muldowney”

  1. Grew up around the corner from her husband’s garage, Union and Regent Sts, Sch’dy. We were on Livingston, little one way street next to Dean. I remember seeing her cars sitting out front. Funny thing, I don’t think my father ever went there, instead frequented Garbellano’s garage. Hoping it all works out.


  2. Several years ago I had the honor of helping to maintain her website. During that time, I watched her run IHRA at Richmond and NHRA at Bristol’s Thunder Valley. What was interesting was that although this was late in her career, she always had the longest line of autograph seekers, and she would be right there talking with them and signing whatever they placed in front of her. She was always the most gracious professional in the crowd. She has always been a winner and I fully expect her to beat this challenger as well.


  3. Lived near schnectady from ’69 thru – ’78, off and on, knew of Shirley’s street racing exploits. I’ve always been a fan and admire her. I had the pleasure of speaking with her at the 4-wide Nationals a few weeks back. What fun! Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley, her family and friends…


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