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Carroll Shelby. Henry Ford. Jim Wangers. These are all gigantic, iconic names in the world of the automobile. But as far-reaching and impactful as those legends are, there may be one other name that has touched more parts of the hobby than all of them put together: Linda Vaughn.
HOT ROD Magazine
With a resume sporting over fifty years in the automotive industry and the attendance of thousands of events, there's no wondering why Linda Vaughn is nicknamed "The First Lady of Motorsports." Born in Dalton, GA, and having been crowned Miss Atlanta Raceway in 1961, Linda quickly developed the people skills that would make her one of the greatest automotive marketing tools of the 20th century. George Hurst saw in Linda the perfect complement to his Hurst Shifters, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, fifty years, thousands of hotel stays, and millions of flight miles later, Linda's signing line at the Car Craft Summer Nationals could easily be confused with that of Justin Bieber or LeBron James.
Her fans come from all walks of life. A simple Google Images search returns pictures of Linda with Richard Petty, Don Garlits, Mario Andretti, Jim Clarke, Parnelli Jones, and James Garner. If you're keeping score, that's NASCAR, NHRA, IRL, Formula 1, Trans Am, and BAJA. To be perfectly honest, the only other name that's seen that much racing is Goodyear!
Along the way, Linda's endured the pain of losing many friends. Auto racing, personal tragedies, and Father Time have taken away the likes of Clarke, Tim Richmond, and June Cochran. Linda herself had heart surgery in 2011 to clear up blocked arteries. Still, "The First Lady of Motorsports" schedule resembles that of a rock band on tour. Linda has only known one gear (Hurst may disagree), and that's wide open with her foot on the floor!
Grand National Illustrated (January 1983)
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