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Archive for Monday, November 10, 2003

Muldowney retires; Bernstein wins 69th

November 10, 2003

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— Three-time Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney ended her 30-year racing career Sunday with a loss in the second round of the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.

The 63-year-old Muldowney, the first female driver to win a major motorsports championship, lost to Corey McClenathan in her finale, completing her last run in 4.70 seconds and 317.12 mph.

Fans stood and cheered Muldowney, who deployed her famous pink parachutes and drove slowly past the grandstands waving to the fans.

"It was very heartwarming and very rewarding," Muldowney said. "It was a nice way to go out."

Muldowney's final race was well planned. She announced earlier this year that she would compete in six races during a tour named "Last Pass -- 30 Years in Top Fuel."

Muldowney spent more than 40 years in the racing industry and was the first female to obtain a Top Fuel license. She also was the first woman to win the National Hot Rod Assn. championship in 1977 and repeated that feat in 1980 and '82.

Her storied career was depicted in the 1983 film "Heart Like a Wheel." Actress Bonnie Bedelia played Muldowney.

In other results, Kenny Bernstein earned his 69th career victory, beating Scott Kalitta in the Top Fuel final.

Del Worsham (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Bike) also were winners at the final of 23 events in the series.

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