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[Oregonian] Historic races to honor women

[This article orginally appeared on the Oregonian website.]

Saturday, July 05, 2008
BOB KEHOE SPECIAL WRITER
The Oregonian

Though their accomplishments have not always received the appropriate amount of recognition, female race-car drivers have played a significant role in motor sports for many decades. They have participated in nearly every form of professional and amateur racing, from Formula 1 and NASCAR to drag racing and rally.

Other women hold positions as team owners, crew members, turn workers, and timing and scoring officials, and in track management.

To celebrate their contributions to the sport, the theme of this year's Baxter Auto Parts Portland Historic Races is "Women in Motorsports." The 32nd edition of the event takes place July 11-13 at Portland International Raceway.

There is even be a special race scheduled at the historics with only women drivers. It will be the first race after the lunch break on Sunday, July 13.

"Racing is perceived as a man's sport, but there have been many notable women drivers in its history," said Cris Vandagriff, president of the Historic Motorsports Association. "Now we have Danica Patrick bringing attention to women, and letting people know they are a part of the action."

A number of women drivers will compete at the Historics, driving a variety of nameplates. One regular participant is Susan Armstrong of Issaquah, Wash., who drives a rare and powerful 1963 Corvette Z06. A vintage racer for 15 years, Susan shares her love of racing with husband Tom and son-in-law Steve Anderson, who are also active racers.

"To me, racing is really a level playing field for women, provided they have equal equipment," said Armstrong. "That is not always true in other sports. Ladies are truly accepted in vintage racing."

Retired racer Catherine "Cat" Kizer and her husband, David, who live in White City, Ore., are planning to be spectators at the Historics.

Kizer was the first woman to win a Sports Car Club of America Club Racing National Championship in 1979. During the 1980s, she drove professionally in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Kelly American Challenge, and for Renault Racing and Volkswagen of America in IMSA's Radial Sedan Series....

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