July 31, 1916|
Barnesville, Georgia, United States
|Died||April 15, 2006(aged 89)|
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career|
|11 races run over 3 years|
|Best finish||63rd (1949)|
|First race||1949 (Daytona Beach)|
|Last race||1952 (Morristown)|
|Statistics current as of February 20, 2013.|
She went as a spectator to her first NASCAR race at the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1949. She could not stand watching the races, so she entered her family's shiny new Ford coupe in the race and rolled it. Her hometown Greenville, South Carolina paper featured photos of the wreck, and the town knew about it before she got home. The race was the first race to feature three female drivers (Ethel Mobley and Sara Christian). The trio also competed later that season at the Langley Speedway.
She raced from 1949 to 1956. She won 38 races in her career in numerous formats: late models, modifieds (28 victories), midgets, and sportsman.
She returned in 1971 as a car owner for numerous drivers. She sponsored Ronnie Thomas' Rookie of the Year attempt in 1978.
She became the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Fearless: The Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith (Dutton Books for Children) by Barb Rosenstock, 2010.