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Vicki Wood, who broke car-racing gender barriers, dies at 101


By Katharine Q. Seelye


She was called “the fastest woman in racing” and “the fastest woman on the sand.” Her explosive speed on the hard-packed sands of Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1960, topping 150 mph, earned her a place in the record books.


Vicki Wood, a trailblazer in the macho world of auto racing, was among the first women to compete in NASCAR events. She broke the gender barrier in 1957 in Michigan and in 1959 at the Daytona International Speedway, which had just opened that year.


In the decade from 1953 to 1963, she set speed records. And when she quit racing in 1963, she had collected 48 trophies. Wood was 101 when she died June 5 at a hospital in Troy, Mich. The cause was heart-related, her niece Beverly Van De Steene said.


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