Gail's Racing History
Gail Watson Phillips
The history behind Gail and the P.O.P. Motorsports Racing Team
1993 Asked by
husband Allen Phillips and Doug Odom, engine builder/car designer,
to be the driver of the car Doug was building to break landspeed records.
Initially it was thought the uniqueness of a female driver would help in
getting sponsorships. (It didn’t really help).
The P.O.P. Motorsports team was born. P = Gail Phillips, O = Doug Odom, P = Al Phillips
her first Hall of Fame “Gas-Up” at Jack Mendenhall’s
Petroleum Museum to see and meet some racers and see what it was all about.
1994 Joined Gold
Coast Roadster & Racers club and Southern California Timing
Association (SCTA). (To this day, still the only racing female member of the GCR&R).
“rookie” run at the Bonneville Salt Flats Speed week. Numerous
mechanical problems prevented more than one licensing run, but managed
to get her first E license for 126 MPH. Also ran at El Mirage and was introduced to ‘life in the dirt’!
Became Secretary for the Gold Coast Roadster & Racers Club for 1995.
1996 Became a
public service sponsor for Tri-counties Tobacco Youth Education.
Promoted non-smoking message to youths, using the race car with logos, at
car shows, school displays and passing out photo trading cards with the
slogan “You don’t have to smoke to be cool. Be Smart-Don’t Start”.
Entire racing crew of 6 are non-smokers.
Set her first record of 163.44 mph
at the Second Annual Muroc Reunion at
Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert.
Broke the existing E/Modified Sports record at Bonneville Speed Week by
almost 22 mph, setting a new record of 179.624 MPH. She promised her
mother she wouldn’t race anymore after setting the record.
She broke that promise.
Set new record in
August at the Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week, going
202.098 mph, in the E/Modified Sports class, bumping the record up
another 22 mph! Became the eighth woman inducted into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.
Set new record in November at the El Mirage Dry Lakes, going 173.343 mph.
She again promised her mother she wouldn’t race anymore now that she held
all records in her class. She broke that promise.
Broke her own record
at the Muroc Reunion at Edwards Air Force Base in
June, going 171.100 mph. Spun out at approx. 180 mph but took out timing
lights so the speed didn’t count. Interviewed by Speedvision and shown on
Hot Rod TV episode with Mike Moran.
Secretary of the GCR&R club.
2000 While test
driving a new engine, builder Doug Odom rolled the race car at the
November El Mirage meet and severely damaged it, just 6 weeks before it
was to be shipped to Australia. Doug survived with minor injuries and began
fixing the car the next day. He and the crew worked night and day, through
the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to entirely rebuild the car. They
added 18” in length, and finished painting it the day it was loaded into the
shipping container for the six week trip to Australia, to arrive in time to race
with the Dry Lakes Racers Australia (DLRA) in March 2001.
2001 While racing
in the outback of South Australia, at Lake Gairdner, with the Dry
Lakes Racers of Australia, Gail set a new record of 205.536 mph becoming the
first female to set a record over 200 mph in a sanctioned, timed event in Australia.
Doug Odom set a new record of 220 mph in the C/Modified Sports class.
She again promised her mother she was retiring, now that she held
every E/MS record in all venues. She broke that promise.
Bonneville’s Speed Week in August going 201 MPH, but backup run
of 198 MPH did not average more than her own 202 MPH record so her 202 MPH record still stands.
Secretary of the GCR&R club.
2002 Produced and
edited a TV show called Just Central Coast Motorsports for
San Luis Obispo County’s public access station. Interviewed and filmed car shows
and people involved in racing and the motorsports industry including an
extensive interview of Jack Mendenhall and a tour of his Gasoline Pump and
Petroleum Museum, the site of the annual Dry Lakes Racer’s Hall of Fame Gas-Up.
Produced a one hour video tribute of Jack and his accomplishments
making it available to all racers at the 10th annual Dry Lakes Racers Hall of Fame “Gas-Up“.
Still Secretary of the GCR&R club.
building a new Landspeed race car,
a C-5 Corvette, to compete in the
GT (Grand Touring) class. The goal is to have the world’s fastest production
body Corvette, going over 260 MPH. Couldn’t pass up a deal to buy a
streamliner so they are also getting that vehicle ready to race over 300 MPH.
They plan to run both vehicles at Bonneville, El Mirage and then ship either
one or both vehicles to Australia to run at Lake Gairdner in 2007.
Still Secretary of the GCR&R club. It is obvious that racing is definitely in her
blood and she has ceased making promises to her mother.
2004 One of five
women invited to be a guest speaker at the world renowned
Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California during their four
month exhibit SPEED The World‘s Fastest Cars. The March Exhibit program was
“Speed Queens: Women in Land Speed Racing.
Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA) and raced at
September’s World of Speed in the Austin Healey Sprite to test a new
Nitrous Oxide system. During the first run the nitrous didn’t work as designed so the
first run was only 198 MPH but her second run of 215 MPH brought her
averaged speed to a new World Record of 205 MPH in the E/Fuel Modified
Sports class (E/FMS). Bringing Gail’s total World records to six!
Gail’s racing began as an
exciting hobby, her day job during most of her racing career was
as a consultant for Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, in San Luis Obispo, California, a company
that specializes in helping people with literacy and learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, Hyperlexia,
and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD and ADHD). But at the end of 2004 she “retired” from her 8 to 5 job to
pursue her and her husband’s dream of moving to Australia. Recently having purchased property in
South Australia, they plan on racing at Lake Gairdner with their newest vehicles and hope to take
those vehicles around the country to car shows and automotive/race events to help promote the DLRA
and their addicting type of racing - speed - to the Australian people.
The P.O.P. Motorsports
racing team expects the next few years to be very busy and exciting.
When you next see Gail, be prepared to ‘salute’ her in her red, white and blue racing suit
to match her patriotic red, white and blue Landspeed Corvette.
Note: Gail’s husband Allen
restores and builds straight-axle Corvettes while supporting
and encouraging her need for speed.
#1 Gail's Racing History
#2 OZ Trip 2001
#3 C-5 Vette at Bonneville 2006
#4 Doug's Racing History
Doug's Crash Photos
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