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10/12/2009

Donna Mae Mims, the pink lady

October 12, 2009 | 12:06 pm

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Donna Mae Mims definitely preferred pink.

Mims, the first woman to win a Sports Car Club of America national championship and a participant in the original "Cannonball Run" that became the subject of a 1981 movie starring Burt Reynolds, liked to drive pink cars and was known as "the Pink Lady." Mims, 82, died Oct. 6 from complications after a stroke, and following her wishes, her body was seated behind the steering wheel of a 1979 pink Corvette for visitation hours at a funeral home in McMurray, Pa., the funeral director told the Associated Press.

Times columnist Jack Smith wrote about Mims in 1969 when she came to Los Angeles for the annual auto show. She discussed her pre-race rituals.

I psych myself. I remove all my makeup. I think stern. I bristle. I don't talk to anybody. You cannot think nice," she said. "Chivalry is dead on the racetrack. You're out there only for one thing. To win. Nobody remembers second place.

Mims also was the subject of a 1964 story in The Times. Both times, the headline called her "Pink Lady."

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: Donna Mae Mims in 1963. Credit: Associated Press / New York Times file

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