Racing icon Janet Guthrie dropped as NASCAR Landmark Award nominee


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After three years on the list, racing legend Janet Guthrie has been dropped as one of the five nominees for NASCAR’s 2020 Landmark Award.

The special award honors outstanding contributions to the series and recipients are enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Honor in Charlotte alongside Hall of Fame inductees, who are chosen through different criteria.

Guthrie, 81, became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race and the first to complete both the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in 1977, a feat not repeated until Danica Patrick finished eight at Daytona in 2013.

“Surely the nominees for 2020 haven’t been announced yet?” Guthrie replied in an email to the Associated Press. “I find that I was nominated for the Landmark Award of 2017 and 2018 as well as 2019. I’ve no idea what their reasoning is in selecting candidates.”

The 24-person nominating committee meets during Speedweeks of the Daytona 500 to select the Hall of Fame and Landmark Award nominees and includes four women. This year’s Landmark nominees are Ford executive Ford II, Pocono Raceway founder Dr. Joseph Mattioli, NASCAR President Mike Helton, Bowman Gray Stadium operator Alvin Hawkins and R.J. Reynolds representative Ralph Seagraves.

Guthrie competed in 33 NASCAR Cup races over four seasons and had five top 10 finishes. She came in 23rd in the 1977 points standings in a car owned by Lynda Ferreri.

An inaugural member of the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, Guthrie was inducted to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006 and her helmet and racing suit are a part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Prior to her racing career, Guthrie was an aeronautical engineer and a candidate to be an Apollo astronaut, making it past the first round of evaluations before being cut from the program for reasons she told the Institute of Physics she still doesn’t know.

The only women currently honored in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in any capacity are series founder Bill France Sr.’s wife, Anne B. France, and Norma “Dusty” Brandel, the sport’s first female garage reporter.

Drivers Tony Stewart, Neil Bonnett, Sam Ard, Marvin Panch, Jim Paschal and mechanic Red Vogt were added to the list of 20 Hall of Fame nominees for 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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