Shirley Muldowney

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Race Car Driver
Date of Birth June 19, 1940
Place of Birth Burlington, Vermont
Age 80 years old
Horoscope Gemini

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Shirley Muldowney

Shirley Muldowney, also known professionally as "Cha Cha" and the "First Lady of Drag Racing", is an American auto racer. She was the first woman to receive a license from the National Hot Rod Association to drive a Top Fuel dragster. She won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 1977, 1980, and 1982, becoming the first person to win two and three Top Fuel titles. She won a total of 18 NHRA national events.

Born: Shirley Ann Roque, June 19, 1940, Burlington, Vermont
Debut season: 1958
1990 2001 2004: Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, National Hot Rod Association top 50 Drivers of 1951–2000, International Motor Sports Hall of Fame

About Shirley Muldowney

Female racing pioneer who was dubbed the "First Lady of Drag Racing" and nicknamed "Cha Cha"; the first woman given a license by the NHRA.

Before Fame

She skipped school to race up and down the streets of Schenectady, New York, saying that's all she wanted to do growing up.


Her racing career was sidelined in 1984 after a crash left her with injuries to her hands, pelvis, and legs; she eventually returned to the tracks later in the decade and continued racing until 2003.

Family Life

She married her first husband, 19-year-old Jack Muldowney, when she was 16; he built her first dragster.


She was played by Bonnie Bedelia in the 1983 movie about her life, "Heart Like a Wheel."

Information related to Shirley Muldowney

  • Female dragster drivers
  • Sportspeople from Schenectady, New York
  • International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees
  • Dragster drivers
  • 21st-century American racing drivers
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Latest information about Shirley Muldowney updated on October 30, 2020.

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