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Suzy Dietrich

June 19, 2015 In the News

Suzy Dietrich

On any Sunday we’re not surprised to see the likes of Danica Patrick racing her NASCAR stock car or Sarah Fischer commanding her winning IndyCar team. To those of us who started following road racing in the 1960s, women in racing were a surprise.


There were the likes of Denise McCluggage, of course, but also drag racer Shirley Muldowney, Donna “Think Pink” Mae Mims and Janet Guthrie. And Suzy Dietrich, who passed away recently at age 88.


We recall the names Suzy and Chuck Dietrich and remember they were from Sandusky, Ohio. He had a car dealership and they raced in the east and Midwest, with excursions south to Daytona, Sebring and Nassau. Her rides included such cars as a supercharged MG-TC, an Elva and Mini Cooper, but her favorite was a Porsche 550 Spyder.


Born Suzanne, Suzy, as she was known, didn’t get her driver’s license until she was 19 and started racing at 26 in the MG. That was in 1953, beginning a career that lasted until 1967. There were wins and high placings during that period, but what was important was her presence and high quality of driving.


If you read into the histories of the women who competed in those early years of U.S. road racing you tend to find they didn’t think of themselves as pioneers, but just another driver who loved racing. Fair enough, but we think of them as trailblazers.


As for Suzy Dietrich, the best quote we’ve read had her explaining, “I may not win, but I’m hard to beat. Don’t ever forget it.”


We won’t.

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Keith Grey

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6 Responses

  1. Steve Gogolya

    Nice one. Good stuff! I do remember all of the female hotshoes, going way, way back. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Scooter Gabel

    Would you please email me the photo of the TC? That may well be my car. I have a blown TC in old BRG paint with a belt over the hood, same wheels & exhaust and the little tag at the back of the hood (barely visible) is a judson tag.

  3. Tim Meehan

    Never knew Chuck’s wife was such a good driver too, she was a little before my time. But remember watching Chuck in his FB just kill the track record at Nelson Ledges, he was a great driver even well up into his years! He and Dan Carmichael had some great battles too.

  4. Bob Engberg

    Thanks for bringing attention to Suzy’s career. She and husband Chuck put “Elva” on the USA sports car racing map. Well done.

  5. JR. Wills

    Suzy also “competed” in the Cannonball Baker, along with Donna Mae & I believe it may have been Janet Guthrie, although not sure.
    The 3 Women were portrayed in the movie in the Ambulance.
    Suzy was a outstanding driver in her own right in F/Jr. & then in F/C, driving a Lotus, w/French Blue Golly wobbles, & I believe a nose accent.
    The last I saw her compete was @ Nelson Ledges.
    She & Chuck were going through the Divorce, & Chuck lapped the field, I believe almost twice that day, in the New Brabham F/B.
    Very Sorry to hear of her passing. Another part of History as well as a Fantastic Lady.

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