March 7, 1938: Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500, was born in Iowa. Raised in Florida, Guthrie graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in physics. She worked as an aerospace engineer but decided to pursue her interest in race car driving in the early 1970s. She became the first woman to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup race. In 1977, she again became the first female driver in the Daytona 500, finishing in 12th place. Later that year, she once more broke the gender barrier and became the first woman to qualify and compete in the Indy 500. She was forced to drop the race due to mechanical problems but her place in history was already solidified.