Why haven’t I heard of this lady before? That’s the number one question I get when I ask people about Paula Murphy. Embarrassingly, that was also my question! Most race fans have heard of Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Shirley Muldowney and many other ladies who have blazed a trail for women in motorsports. The fact of the matter is, Paula Murphy was the first female to be licensed by the NHRA, first female to turn laps at Indianapolis and was the first female to set multiple world speed records.

This documentary introduces you to the housewife and mother who blew away limits and expectations in her phenomenal racing career. A short film (44:24in length), it’s mainly about her career and nearly life-ending injury. This documentary will have you in awe of all of the things she accomplished behind the wheel and constantly keep you rooting for her success amongst all of those trying to derail her. This film will keep you riveted to see what she does next in spite of all of those challenges she faced. Incidentally, at the movie screening at the Petersen Museum, Murphy was scheduled to be there to sit in on a panel with other female motorsports trend setters. Unfortunately, a few days before her scheduled appearance, she fell down and broke her leg (femur). Undaunted, at the age of 95, she showed up anyway and wowed the crowd with her spunk, vitality, sense of humor and drive. She was, and to this day is, a true “badass woman” and I was honored to have met such an incredible human being. 

NOTE: If you scan the QR code below, you can watch this documentary. The website is also listed below. Sit back, relax and prepare to be impressed! Also, there is a book coming out soon titled: “The Life of Paula Murphy The Fastest Woman On Wheels.” There is more information on that below as well.

Paula Murphy, Undaunted YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2sDbak4U04

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2023 Larry Mason

Paula Murphy is flanked by NHRA’s Brad Gerber, V.P. Sales, Chief Development Officer, and Steve Reintjes, V.P. Broadcasting, as they present her with this Female Funny Car Pioneer Award at the Petersen event.photo by Albert Wong

Paula Murphy is surrounded by multiple female trendsetters and record holders who have followed in her ground breaking tire tracks.

Paula Murphy was not about to let a broken leg slow her down. She still has the fire and spark that fueled her success from drag strips to salt flats, from super speedways to the tight confines of Monaco. Here she shares a moment with NHRA announcer Amanda Busick who hosted the event.photo by Albert Wong

Interview and photos Copyright © by Larry Mason (unless otherwise noted