SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 48, December 3, 2009

Linda Vaughn: SBN Recognizes First Lady of Motorsports

  Linda Vaughn
  The SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the First Lady of Motorsports Linda Vaughn.

The SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Linda Vaughn, a founding member of the SBN, at the annual SEMA Speed Networking Breakfast – Powered by the SBN, in recognition of Vaughn’s lifelong participation and exceptional achievements within the automotive aftermarket.

Vaughn may well be the most traveled ambassador of motorsports in the United States, visiting more racetracks, race events and race honorariums than anyone in the sport. She is in demand because generations of people, men and women, have searched her out in a crowd, and she has a singular way of bringing focus to a worthwhile product, cause or person. This was never more apparent than during her tour of military bases in Vietnam when she accompanied Don Garlits and Richard Petty to encourage the troops overseas.

She began her career as a beauty queen in 1961, and the following year carried the title of Miss Pontiac. Vaughn used her assets—wit, intelligence and a natural curiosity and love of motorsports to nudge into a mostly male domain to become a valued spokesperson and representative of one of the largest aftermarket companies in the United States. For years, Vaughn was Ms. Hurst Golden Shifter, working side-by-side with the parent company and the top executives of Mr. Gasket Company to promote one of its most valued brands. She was half-part beauty and half-part brains, and in the '60s, this was a perfect formula for getting attention and paving a road for women to participate in all aspects of the aftermarket. She was successful because of her drive to be a part of this industry in a big way. She was not content to rest on her laurels as a beauty queen.

Vaughn has endured and changed, as all of us have in this industry, but throughout, she has remained a staunch supporter of the vitality of motorsports in all of its forms, and an endearing friend to the people that she has met along the way.

With a passion for motorsports she parlayed her role from beauty queen to spokesperson for the industry and has spent a lifetime participating in the events and milestones that have shaped this industry.

Jim Feeman, director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama, once commented, “Lots of people consider Linda to be the First Lady of Racing. She is the only female non-racer that continually gets votes to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame.”

In 1988, SEMA honored Vaughn’s lifetime achievements with a special citation during their “Salute to the American Automotive Performance & Motorsports Industry” program in Washington, D.C. She is a respected member of the SEMA Hall of Fame and is beloved by many all over the world. Join us in congratulating Linda Vaughn as the First Lady of Motorsports.

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