2. Denise McCluggage
Denise McCluggage was an American auto racing driver, journalist, author, and photographer, and her recent passing on May 6, at the age of 88 was heart-wrenching to say the least. McCluggage was a pioneer of equality for women in the U.S., both in motorsports as well as in journalism. Denise was knee-deep in auto-racing by the time she moved to New York to work at the New York Herald Tribune as a sports journalist in 1954, and around that time she ditched her MG for a Jaguar XK140 and began to race professionally. She won the grand touring category at Sebring in a Ferrari 250 GT in 1961, and later landing a class win in the Monte Carlo Rally in a Ford Falcon in 1964.
After tiring of the sport in the late 1960s, Denise went back to focusing on journalism full-time and founded a little automotive magazine we like to call AutoWeek. Denise continued her role as Senior Contributing Editor at the publication all the way up until her death and to this day is the only journalist to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. As fellow automotive journalists, she stood as an inspiration to us all, and Denise shall forever remain a shining example for girls the world over who wonder if a woman really can “make it in a man’s world.”