March 24, 1946 |
Corpus Christi, Texas, United States
|Occupation||Stuntwoman, race car driver|
Kitty O'Neil, born March 24, 1946 in Corpus Christi, Texas, is an American former stuntwoman and racer noted for exceptional accomplishments, despite being born deaf. However, she did not let this disability become an obstacle to achievement. She became a stunt woman at Hollywood and was married to a stunt man, Duffy Hambleton.
In 1976 in southeastern Oregon's Alvord Desert, she set the land-speed record for female drivers. She piloted a hydrogen peroxide powered three-wheeled rocket car built by Bill Fredrick called the “SMI Motivator”. It reached an average speed of 512.710 mph (825.127 km/h).
The NHRA contends that Top Fuel dragsters hold the fastest quarter mile times in the 4.4x seconds and 330 mph (530 km/h) range as of 2005. But NHRA rules state that any run that sets a record on a drag strip must be backed up within one percent during the same meet. FIA rules on land speed records require any run to set a record must be based on the average of two runs, each way, within one hour. Because the quarter mile elapsed time was not set under these conditions, neither the NHRA nor the FIA recognize this achievement as an official record.
In drag racing, hydrogen peroxide "rocket cars" were relegated to exhibition only, and have not been allowed in the United States since the 1980s, although they continue to be run in other parts of the world.
O’Neil retired in 1982. She has held 22 speed records on land and water.
- Moore, Matthew S.; Panara, Robert F. (1998). Great deaf Americans (2. ed., 2. print. ed.). Rochester, N.Y.: Deaf Life Press. ISBN 0963401661.
- Ireland, Karin (1980). Kitty O'Neil, daredevil woman (Library ed.). New York, N.Y.: Harvey House. ISBN 0817800042.
- Libby, Bill; O'Neil, Kitty (1981). Kitty, a story of triumph in a soundless world (1st ed.). New York: Morrow. ISBN 0688003559.
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