Denise McCluggage

20 Jan 1927
6 May 2015
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Denise McCluggage (January 20, 1927 – May 6, 2015) was an American auto racing driver, journalist, author and photographer. McCluggage was a pioneer of equality for women in the U.S., both in motorsports and in journalism.She was born in El Dorado, Kansas, and spent her childhood in that state. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mills College in Oakland, California. She began her career as a journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle.

In San Francisco in the early 1950s, while covering a yacht race, she met Briggs Cunningham, who built the first American cars to race at Le Mans. She bought her first sports car, an MG TC Midget, and began racing at small club events. In 1954 she moved to New York to work at the New York Herald Tribune as a sports journalist. The MG was replaced with a Jaguar XK140; she began to race professionally, and earned the respect of her male counterparts. Her trademark was a white helmet with pink dots. Her racing achievements included winning the grand touring category at Sebring in a Ferrari 250 GT in 1961, and a class win in the Monte Carlo Rally in a Ford Falcon in 1964. She also participated in the 1000-km race at the Nürburgring. She drove Porsches, Maseratis, and other racing cars of many marques, often with another woman driver, Pinkie Rollo. She ended her racing career in the late 1960s.

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