There's a lot to be said for women drivers, and Vicki Wood has said quite a bit. But she knows what she's talking about. She has watched both men and women racers, and she has driven with them and against them.
Vicki stands 5'3" inches tall and weighs in at 136 pounds. Her start in racing followed a trip to the local track in Detroit. Vicki recalls that during the powder puff race she commented to her husband, Skeeter, "If I couldn't drive any better than that, I'd quit." The next trip to the track, Skeeter took her into the pit area, pointed to a car, and said, "That's your car." She finished ninth.
Skeeter also influenced Vicki's driving style. He told her that when she approached two cars if she could not get through on the inside or outside, she should go between them and they would move apart. "I did as he said," Vicki recalls, "but when they saw my car between them, they both closed in and all three of us sat out the race."
At the beach in 1958 Vicki drove the same car as a well known male driver. He drove the car to an average speed of 139 miles per hour with a one-way run of 142 mph. Then came Vicki's turn. Her average speed was only 136 miles per hour, but her top one-way run was 143.
Between 1955 and 1960 Vicki set records on the beach-road course. In three of those years she recorded times faster than any of the men. In 1960 she drove a one-way record speed of 150.375 miles per hour.
Vicki's name is still in the NASCAR record books. She was third in the two-way flying mile in 1955 with an average speed of 125.838. In 1956 she was second with a speed of 136.081. That same year she had the fastest one-way run in measured mile history -- 143.827. In 1958 and 1959 she won the Pure Oil Performance Trials in the passing test against male competition, and in 1959 set a new (all drivers) measured mile record of 147.420. She holds the woman's record for the measured mile (150.375), the woman's record at Daytona International Speedway (130.379) and the woman's record at Atlanta International Raceway (121.30).
Even today there is nothing slow about Vicki Wood. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Vicki was riding with friends on a long, straight, modern highway. The husband of one of the women was driving 90 mph when this 81-year-old grandmother smiled and said, "I thought you said you could drive fast."
Vicki lives in West Palm Beach and can often be found at LLOAR events.