UPDATE: Congratulations to Simona DeSilvestro for her 4th place finish today in the Indy Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The first race of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Racing Series season is today in St. Petersburg, Florida. The follow list identifies the amazing women of IndyCar racing. One fact that has been overlooked is that during the 2010 Toronto IndyCar race two women (Danica Patrick and Simona DeSilvestro) finished in the top 10 for the first time in history. Janet Guthrie (pictured to the left) was the visionary role model for all those women that have followed in her tire tracks.
A 1960 graduate from the University of Michigan in Physics, Janet Guthrie was the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 (1977) and the Daytona 500 (1977). She also was the first woman to finish in the top 10 in the Indy 500 (9th in 1978). Her racing suit and helmet are in the Smithsonian Institution and she is an inductee in both the Women’s Sport Hall of Fame and International Motosports Hall of Fame.
Lyn St. James was the first woman to win Rookie of the Year honors at the Indianapolis 500 in 1992. She competed in seven Indy 500s, with her best finish being 11th in 1992.
Sarah Fisher was the first woman to have occupied the pole position in an IndyCar race (2002 in Kentucky). She has competed in nine Indy 500s (more than anyone else) and is one of the most popular drivers in IndyCar racing. In 2001, Sarah was the first woman in history to compete in a full IndyCar racing season and finished in second place at Homestead-Miami that year. Sarah is also unique in the fact that she is the first female owner/driver and the youngest owner. In 2011, Sarah will be managing her two-car racing team from pit row.
Danica Patrick was the first woman to win an IndyCar race when she captured the Indy-Japan 300 in 2008. She was Rookie of the Year for both the Indy 500 and the racing series in 2005. Danica has finished in the top 10 four times at Indianapolis including third in 2009. She is now competing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series as well as IndyCar.
The 2010 Rookie of the Year at the Indianpolis 500, Simona DeSilvestro of Switzerland burst onto the IndyCar scene with an impressive run during the 2010 racing season including top 10 finishes at Toronto and Mid-Ohio. Simona is one of my favorite IndyCar drivers. Simona started the 2011 season in fine style today with a 4th place finish in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Two other woman drivers who raced in 2010 IndyCar events are Ana Beatriz from Brazil and Mila Duno of Venezuela.