Since 1999, several women have competed in the Indianapolis 500, a sport immensely dominated by men. And for the first time in 20 years, the 2020 Indy 500 won’t feature any women in the motorsport.
Fortunately, the motorsport events tend to consist of a few women racers amid the male-dominated race drivers. Namely;
- Janet Guthrie
- Danica Patrick
- Lyn St. James
- Sarah Fisher
- Simona de Silvestro
- Pippa Mann
Janet Guthrie was the first female motor racing driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 back in 1977, making way for other female racing drivers to follow in her suit. She is a veteran female racing driver who has inspired current and upcoming female racing drivers.
Janet Guthrie is a hall of Famer and inducted into the hall of fame namely;
- In 1980 at the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame
- In 2006 at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame
- In 2019 at the Automobile Hall of Fame
In contrast, the hardships that female drivers experience in this era might not be exceptionally compared early on in 1977. Still, it is evident, especially if you carefully examine the number of female racing drivers that have graced the Indy 500. The main problem that they face being lack of sponsorships limiting their chances to participate in the races.
Sarah Marie Fisher remains the only racing female driver with the most careers start at the Indy 500 with nine and the first to win a pole position in a significant American open-wheel race. Before Danica Patrick’s victory at the Indy Japan 300 in 2008, she was the top racing woman in the IRL.
At the age of 45, Lyn St. James won the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award, making her the first woman to win and the oldest driver ever to win the award. She also holds the speed record after becoming the first woman racing driver to surpass 200 mph on a race track.
Danica Patrick holds the spot for the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing. In 2005 Indy 500, she received the Rookie of the Year award. In 2008, Danica painted her name for the world to know at the Indy Japan 300 by becoming victorious and going into the record books as the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race.
In 2009, she made history and set a record at the Indy 500 race by finishing 3rd.
The 104th Indy 500 won’t feature any woman for the first time since 1999, especially after Mann failed to secure a ride to compete on. After her personal best finish time in 16th place last year, good readings were to happen in the 2020 Indy 500 for Pippa Mann.
Despite the 2020 Indianapolis 500 not featuring any women racing drivers, be sure to catch the action on August 23, 2020.
Remember to stay safe by keeping a distance, wear a mask, and sanitize your hands.
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