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Paula Murphy, a trailblazing female race car driver who became known as "The Fastest Woman on Wheels" for her exploits across the motorsports world, died Thursday according to the NHRA. She was 95.

A one-time secretary at Marquardt, an aerospace engineering firm in North Hollywood, Calif., Murphy became interested in racing after attending the 1956 Santa Barbara Memorial Day Race and from there joined the Women's Sports Car Club, an organization that encouraged women to participate in administrative tasks associated with racing. After competing in ladies' races beginning in 1956, Murphy devoted herself to racing full-time starting in 1963 and soon gained notoriety when she set a 161 MPH women's land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Murphy's land speed effort came with the support of STP executive Andy Granatelli, who sponsored her racing efforts as Murphy became known as "Miss STP."

In 1966, Murphy would become the first woman ever to be licensed by the NHRA to compete in any nitro class, competing alongside men in Funny Car competition. She would also set notable firsts at both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in NASCAR. Murphy became the first woman to drive alone at high speeds at Indianapolis while testing a Novi in 1963, and in 1971 broke the NASCAR women's closed-course record at Talladega Superspeedway driving Fred Lorenzen's STP Dodge. Five years later, Murphy would return to Talladega behind the wheel of Richard Petty's car, breaking her own record with a speed of 172.336 MPH.

Murphy broke the 200 MPH barrier in 1968, and she would reach speeds well over 250 MPH in drag racing before suffering serious injuries in a crash at Sonoma Raceway. Despite breaking her neck, Murphy would return to racing and eventually completed a "drive around the world" in celebration of America's bicentennial in 1976. Following that drive, Murphy would retire from racing.

"I got really, really lucky," Murphy said in an obituary published by the NHRA. "I don't think many people have gotten the opportunity to do some of the things that I did. I don't look at myself as anything special; it was just the time for a woman to try to drive a Funny Car, and I felt rather proud that I was the one."

Murphy was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1992 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2017. Earlier this year, Murphy's life and career was chronicled in the documentary Paula Murphy: Undaunted, which premiered on FS1.