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Barbara Roufs: A PDA Champion’s Journey in Drag Racing

Barbara Roufs

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In the vibrant world of drag racing, Barbara Roufs stands out as a legendary figure, known not only for her prowess on the track but also for her stunning beauty that left an indelible mark on the sport. Born in Southern California in 1944, Barbara’s life journey was tragically cut short in January 1991. In this article, we delve into the extraordinary life of Barbara Roufs, from her early days as a trophy girl to her untimely death and the mysteries surrounding it.

The Early Life of Barbara Roufs

Barbara Roufs entered the drag racing scene in the early 1970s during the industry’s transformation from the 1960s heyday. The dragsters were evolving, with newer models featuring powerful engines and unique designs. Barbara stepped into the limelight as a trophy girl, capturing the hearts of racers and spectators alike with her long straightened hair, airy freedom tanks, and vintage 1960s go-go boots.

Professional Success and Recognition

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Barbara Roufs became a prominent figure in drag racing. Her pinnacle moment came at the Orange County International Raceway’s sixth annual United States Professional Dragster Championship, where she reigned supreme. Additionally, she clinched the title of Professional Dragster Association (PDA) champion in 1973. Barbara’s charm and attractiveness made her a favorite among racers and a sought-after face for advertisements and merchandise.

Unraveling Barbara Roufs’ Personal Life

Beyond the racetrack, Barbara Roufs had a family. At the age of 29, she welcomed a child named Jet Dougherty into the world. However, details about her husband remain a mystery. In 2016, photographer Tom West unveiled old photos of Barbara’s daughter, Jet Dougherty, providing a glimpse into the personal life of the drag racing icon. Jet shared fond memories of her mother, emphasizing the excitement that filled Barbara’s tragically short life.

The Enigma of Barbara Roufs’ Death

The most perplexing chapter in Barbara Roufs’ life is undoubtedly her untimely death in January 1991. At the age of 47, Barbara succumbed to suicide in Fresno, California, leaving her family and fans in shock. The motive behind her tragic decision remains unknown, shrouding her death in mystery. Despite her struggles, her impact on drag racing and the lives she touched cannot be understated.

Barbara’s Legacy and Net Worth

Barbara Roufs left an enduring legacy as a Southern California-born drag racing champion and model. In the 1970s, she contributed significantly to the evolving world of drag racing, earning a reputation as an iconic trophy girl. Her estimated net worth at the time of her death was $1.5 million, a testament to her success in both modeling and drag racing.


In remembrance of Barbara Roufs, we celebrate the life of a drag racing icon whose beauty, vitality, and contributions to the sport continue to resonate. Though her story ended in tragedy, Barbara’s impact on drag racing remains an integral part of its history. As we reflect on her life, we remember the woman who brought excitement to the racetrack and left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who witnessed her charm and charisma.


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