Paula Murphy, who is 95 years old, shattered her leg a few times before the premiere of a documentary on her life. Even without the excuse of age, the majority of us would mail our polite regrets about missing the social event and sit at home with a good book and some painkillers. Heck, if I didn’t have a broken leg, that would be my go-to nighttime activity.

Racer Paula Murphy


Murphy is not most of us, though. She arrived to the Petersen Automotive Museum looking impressive in green satin, with her leg in a cast but nicely painted toenails.

Paula Murphy did not let having a broken leg prevent her from going to the documentary about her life’s work debut. She answered questions, signed autographs, and shared tales of her experiences sitting in the backseat at 95 years old.

a vehicle and a driver

This girl once had to perch on a small pillow to reach the pedals on a jet-powered land vehicle. She raced a Novi Indy car and a Petty stock car, each with little preparation and going well over 100 mph. She managed to survive a crash in a rocket-powered dragster travelling at almost 300 mph, but she didn’t let it stop her from returning to highway racing in a Datsun and later a Honda Civic.

Murphy might exert pressure. A little fall and a fractured fibula would not keep her from her possessions. The film was appropriately titled Paula Murphy: Undaunted.

The most recent film in Pam Miller and Cindy Sisson’s “Remaining At the rear of” series is Undaunted. The team’s first project was a 2022 documentary about Betty Skelton, an air and car racer. Their mission is to share the experiences of female trailblazers in the racing industry, particularly those who were unable to receive the recognition they deserved during or after their careers. I was familiar with aspects of Paula’s story, particularly the drag racing aspect, but she accomplished far more than I was aware of. That would seem to be the series’ level. It’s a really good movie, full of clean old film from the salt flats and circle tracks intercut with contemporary interviews.

Murphy’s million-dollar smile, which appears each time she buckles her helmet and gets into a car, is an added benefit. During a standing ovation following the movie, she let loose her age-unchanged smile on the audience and pronounced it to be completely worthwhile leaving the house for. I have to agree.

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Pam Miller, the series’ director, describes it

Pam Miller, the director of the Still Left Behind series, and I had a chance to talk about how she became a producer of racing coverage in 2023, a field that is still largely dominated by men. For almost three years, Miller has been creating sports programming for networks including CBS, NBC, and ESPN. His credentials range from Formula 1 to dirt tracks. She currently serves as Fox’s NASCAR coverage’s coordinating producer and produces documentaries in between races.

Auto and Driver: Was the documentary film Boundless: Betty Skelton your debut?

Pamela Miller No, I’ve been working intermittently on documentaries for Fox for the past ten years. This most recent group started roughly three years ago. On the 2001 Daytona 500 film Blink of an Eye, in which Michael Waltrip wins the race but loses his best buddy (Dale Earnhardt) 15 seconds later, I was merely one of the producers. That occurred in 2019. Then, in the midst of the pandemic, when my friend Cindy Sisson was starting her Ladies in Motorsports events, I exclaimed, “Oh, I have this whole list of gals [who would make good stories],” and we started discussing how we could make people films. We got Fox’s vice president of studio displays to come talk with us one day, and when we presented Betty Skelton to her, she was interested. Additionally, we drove her around in a Ferrari, which was enjoyable.

Judith, Paula One more person on the list?

How many! Even girls whose stories you’ve read about, like Shirley Muldowney, won’t typically have them educated properly. I can tell you that we have a list of women who work in racing, the auto industry, and even aviation, and their stories need to be told. Some are bizarre tales, others are absurd, and still others are simply mind-blowing. And if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here.

Was this something you typically wanted to do, to conclude? How did you become a producer of motorsports?

As I got to my feet, I was unsure of its name. I only recall that I was consistently writing shorter stories and scripts. I was preparing. Together with my sister, brother, and kids from the neighbourhood, I would put on skill shows. So as soon as I realised it was profitable, I enrolled in college to pursue it, and my first assignment was in athletics rather than racing.