Terri O’Connell—the nation’s preeminent transgendered NASCAR driver—is featured in a Newsweek profile this week in which she recounts her rise to fame as Winston Cup winner J.T. Hayes and the difficulties encountered since her gender reassignment surgery in 1994. Though the piece mentions some discrimination and family trouble, the tone makes us wonder whether Newsweek editors smoothed out the speed bumps in O’Connell’s story to appease Middle American readers.
An exclusive interview with O’Connell revealed there is much more to her past than the fact that she was once—gasp!—a man [ED: who wasn’t these days?]. Like, for example, the fact that she’s been trying to become the first woman in the Indy 500 but has been unable to get an agent—she says some have warned her that other Indy drivers would try to kill her by bumping her off the road. Below, a few more pieces of her story that you didn’t see in Newsweek.
(Note: O’Connell asked that some names be withheld until her tell-all memoir, Dangerous Curves, finds a publisher.)