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Today in History: July 17

July 17, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

1918: Sara Christian, the only woman in the field in NASCAR's first Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup) race, was born. The Dahlonega, Ga., native qualified 13th and finished 14th in June 1949 at Charlotte Speedway. Though she competed just seven times in NASCAR's top series, she recorded the first top-five finish for a woman in NASCAR history when she took fifth at Heidelburg Raceway in Pittsburgh. That stood as the best finish by a woman in any NASCAR national series until 2011, when Danica Patrick placed fourth at Las Vegas in the Nationwide Series. Christian died in 1980.