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Women and minorities in the crowd, behind the wheel pushing NHRA

Women compete with men on an even playing field in the NHRA -- and consistently win. Minorities do, too. Some tough battles were fought years ago by the likes of champion Shirley Muldowney, but the seeds planted then led to rewards now, writes Ryan McGee.

Updated: April 30, 2008, 7:15 PM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine

COMMERCE, Ga. -- Within the first hour of an NHRA weekend, you know something feels different, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is. You can't help but think that something unusual is happening around you, but no one calls it to your attention with an official press release or a news conference.

Then, as you stroll through Nitro Alley, the state fair-like paddock/party zone that complements every stop on the NHRA POWERade Series schedule, it suddenly strikes ...

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