Donna Mae Mims
Born July 1st 1927, Donna Mae Mims, known affectionately as the ‘Pink Lady’ was the first woman to ever win a Sports Car Club of America National Championship (SCCA) when driving her Austin-Healey Sprite.
Working as an executive secretary at Yenko Chevrolet, Pennsylvania, Mims’ love for motorsport grew. After an invitation from a fellow motorist, Mims started racing in 1961. Her first win was a race during her inaugural year, the B production national race at Cumberland.
While always pushing the boundaries and forging the path for fellow motorsport enthusiasts, Mims has been known to play fast and loose with the law. She and her all-female team participated in the Cannon Ball Run, an illegal road race from the East Coast of the United States to the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. During the race Mims along with Judy Stropus and Peggy Nimeck had their 1968 Cadillac limousine pulled over.
“Most memorable is the ticketing event in the wee dark hours as we were pulled over by a Barney Fife look-a-like who claimed he’d been chasing us for 15 minutes at 115 miles per hour. No bribe could corrupt this pure-hearted Don Knotss, and we were doomed to follow him to the magistrate.”
This run in with the law would later be depicted in the motion picture ‘The Cannon Ball Run’ which went on to gross over $72,000,000 at the box office.
In 1974 Mims retired from racing. However, her involvement with the sport did not stop there. Mims continued her passion in race control at Ohio race courses while remaining a prominent member of various clubs including the Three Rivers Corvette Club which she founded.
Sadly, Donna Mae Mims passed away on October 6th 2009 at the age of 82. Seven years later The National Corvette Museum would honour her legacy when inducting her into the 2016 Corvette Hall of Fame.