The path to women taking part in sanctioned American racing had to start somewhere. Long before women like Danica Patrick and Jennifer Jo Cobb were getting behind the wheel of stock cars, we had women like Sara Christian setting the stage—and at the first ever NASCAR race to boot. Like her successor Ethel Mobley, little is known about Christian’s rise through the ranks, aside from the fact that racing was a family affair. Christian married Frank Christian, both a racer and a NASCAR car owner until 1955. She appears to have had some ties to the Flock family as well—all of which are some pretty great ins into the racing world. It’s uncertain if Christian was racing prior to the official sanctioning of NASCAR (then known as the Strictly Stock series), but it’s likely that she participated in “powder puff derby” events, local events designed solely for women to get behind the wheel (and not to be confused with the Powder Puff Derby air race). But she must have been putting in results somewhere, because when the Strictly Stock series coalesced, because Christian was there to get behind the wheel for the first ever race at Charlotte Speedway on June 19, 1949. It was as successful an outing as it could have been for her. Christian qualified thirteenth behind the wheel of a Ford owned by her husband—but she was also the one chosen to step out of her car mid-race when Bob Flock’s engine expired early in the race…. [Read full story]
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