Janet Guthrie grew from grassroots SCCA regional racing to be a pioneer in Indy cars and NASCAR, inspiring others to imagine the impossible. Early on, she campaigned a Jaguar XK 120 coupe, competing in autocrosses, hill climbs and field trials in the New York Region. She then moved to a Jaguar XK 140 for competition in SCCA regional and national races. Guthrie built her own engines, towed the car to races and was her own crew. By 1972, she was a full-time racer, and a year later won the SCCA North Atlantic Road Racing championship in a BS Toyota Celica. She also managed to achieve a couple Sebring class wins.

In 1976, Guthrie tested an Indy car and was also the first woman to run a NASCAR superspeedway cup race. In 1977, she was the first woman to qualify for and compete in the Indy 500, and was the first woman and top rookie at the Daytona 500 that same year. Her driver’s suit and helmet are in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and she is also a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and was one of the first inductees into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.