Automotive journalist, racing driver, author, and pioneer, Denise McCluggage passed away on Wednesday, May 6. She was 88 years old.

McCluggage raced often and well in the 1950s and 60s. She won class victories at Sebring and Rally Monte Carlo, and finished fifth at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix of 1960. She also won more than a handful of women-only races from that dual-class era of motorsport.

Her accolades include induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame and the SCCA Hall of Fame, a Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, the Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award, and the unabashed adoration of her colleagues and contemporaries.

Over the last decade I've been lucky enough to have meals and conversations with McCluggage on a handful of occasions. All of which followed a pattern. Inevitably surrounded by her old pals, I would sit back and listen to their re-tellings of tales of her amazing life. How she hung out with Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck, raced with Fangio, Moss, and Hill, wrote the finest stories, and told the funniest jokes. She will be missed by a great many.


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