Maude Yagle: From The Grandstands

Pit lane is full of drivers, crew, staff, media, onlookers, and team owners. It’s not uncommon to see Micheal Andretti, Chip Ganassi, and Roger Penske in pit boxes. Both Andretti and Penske are on the radio for their drivers. INDYCAR is a sport where owners are completely hands on. They oversee the business as well as the details. Back in 1929, one owner had to do all of this across from pit lane in the grandstands.
Not a lot is known about Maude “MA” Yagle. She was born in Philadelphia and was married. Most histories about her start in 1928 when she purchased her first racecar as an owner. Her first car was a rear-wheel-drive that was used in a fatal land-speed attempt in Florida. She first entered the car in races using the pseudonym M.A. Yagle to avoid the attention of being a woman entering the sport. It didn’t work. That year the car and driver Ray Keech, raced in six races and won three. The car finished fourth place in the 1928 Indianapolis 500.
In 1929, Keech won the Indianapolis 500 driving for Yagle. During the month of May, Yagle managed everything from the grandstands. She wasn’t allowed in pit row or even the garages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She kept times and records while camped out in the grandstands, across from her pit so she could watch everything.
Yagle is the first, and only, female owner to win the Indianapolis 500. She passed in 1968 without a mention of her accomplishment.
Main Image: Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash