To say that Denise McCluggage opened doors for women in racing, or even women in sports journalism, is a bit of an understatement. In many ways, she kicked down those doors, and then spun eloquent prose about doing so. She hobnobbed with the giants of racing’s golden age, including Phil Hill, Sir Stirling Moss and Briggs Cunningham, and impressed many with her natural ability to drive a race car. Denise died on May 6, age 88, so we thought it appropriate to reprint Jim Donnelly’s excellent piece, “The Lady Arrives,” from the July 2012 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
Focusing solely on Denise McCluggage’s career as an American sports car racer sells her short. Going out of your way to remind everyone it was a manly exploit would terribly diminish her. She had impressive gifts to explain her personal experiences as an athlete, world traveler and teacher in words and photos. We would argue that no racer, of either gender, has been so fit to archive her experiences as Denise McCluggage.
She has lived in a world that few people could ever imagine. The stars of motorsport are today cloistered away from intruding fans, their motor coaches secured in tight, protected compounds like prairie wagon trains. When Denise was getting known, she would sidle up to a dimly lit table somewhere on the Continent with Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Denis Jenkinson, Jo Bonnier, Peter Collins, scratching occasional notes. A long, hazardous day would melt into the pleasantness accompanying wine, victuals and conversation.
Click here to see the original post from Hemmings Daily.