On this day 10 years ago, Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver ever to win an IndyCar Series race. Considered to be a pioneer for women in motorsports, Patrick’s achievements allowed her to break the gender barrier in a predominately male industry and become influential to many women who have taken up a career in auto racing since then. WATCH her career highlights… (2008)

– Photo by SarahStierch, CC

MORE Good News on this Day in History:

  • The Secchi disk, created by Italian astronomer Angelo Secchi, was first demonstrated as an inexpensive and straightforward method of measuring water clarity, using a white frisbee-sized disk–sometimes with black and white quadrants–which is still widely used to measure a lake’s transparency (1865)
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1871 became law, protecting blacks from the Ku Klux Klan by providing a civil remedy for abuses then being committed in the South (1871)
  • Fenway Park opened as the home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team (1912)
  • The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Wrigley Field, known then as Weeghman Park before William Wrigley Jr., a chewing gum manufacturer, bought the Cubs baseball team and renamed the stadium after himself (1916)
  • Billie Holiday recorded what is thought to be the first Civil Rights song, “Strange Fruit” (1939)
  • Apollo 16‘s lunar module landed on the moon (1972)
  • Professional basketball player Michael Jordan set an all-time record for points in an NBA playoff game with 63 against the Boston Celtics (1986)
  • China removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses (2001)

And, on this day in 1986, Vladimir Horowitz, one of the world’s greatest pianists, returned to his Russian homeland, after 61 years away, to perform for an emotional audience in his hometown of Moscow. At the age of 82, Horowitz gave one of the most emotionally astonishing and riveting performances of his life. (Audio CD)

Horowitz in Moscow with Charles Kuralt (DVD)

(I remember watching Charles Kuralt feature the historic recital on his Sunday Morning TV show, along with footage of Horowitz’s return to his native Soviet Union. To say that this concert was an emotional experience is an understatement, and I, who knew nothing about the man or his work, wept with joy at his performance.) A lesser pianist might have wilted under the pressure, and many expected Horowitz would cancel the concert. But he seemed ecstatically inspired to be playing once again for his fellow Moscovites.