1978 Texaco Star
Driven by: Janet Guthrie
Although Janet Guthrie became the first women to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1977, it wasn’t until the 1978 competition that she could claim to be the first female driver to finish the race. She did so in the Texaco Star Wildcat built in 1977 for Patrick Racing and later sold to Guthrie’s team following Texaco’s sponsorship offer that came through just a month before practice opened for the race. The 161 cubic-inch 4-cylinder turbocharged Drake-Goosen-Sparks engine—a slightly modified Drake Offenhauser designed by Art Sparks and Leo Goosen—propelled her to a ninth-place finish, a record for best finish by a female drive that she held until 2005.