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By Phil Hall | September 7, 2004

As I am not a fan of automotive sports, I may be the wrong person to review the DVD documentary “Fast Women: The Ladies of Auto Racing.” But even if my life was devoted exclusively to all things NASCAR-related, I doubt I would be that enthused over this less-than-inspirational film.

Women have been involved in auto racing as far back as Camille DuGast’s 1901 victory in a Paris-to-Berlin rally, but it was not until the 1960s with Shirley Muldowney and the 1970s with Janet Guthrie that women were able to successfully compete against male drivers. Even today, women drivers are relatively few and far between, although the problem may have less to do with sex discrimination and more to do with the expensive nature of the sport (without sponsorship money from major corporations, it is nearly impossible to get on a track).

Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Kimberly Myers, Tammy Jo Kirk, Patty Moise and Shawna Robinson are among the drivers featured here. Most of them, however, seem to be telling variations of the same story of fighting for a place on the track in the face of a chauvinist attitude which permeates the racing circuit. Patty Moise stands out, though, with an amusing commercial for a ladies’ shaving cream which sponsors her auto efforts while Kimberly Myers has a far more serious campaign of fighting her own race against cystic fibrosis.

There is also plenty of racing footage, but to be honest it all looks like the same bunch of cars going endlessly in circles. Perhaps you need to have a mania for this sport to appreciate what is happening on screen. Otherwise, this speedway sisterhood will leave the viewer more than a little bored. And even with a one hour running time, this feels like a padded effort.

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