Racing: Women Participation in a Man’s Sport

Most people are aware of the male racecar drivers, but what many don’t know is there are many female drivers making their way up the ranks as well. Most have heard of Danica Patrick, but she is definitely not the only female competing on the racing circuit.

There are a couple developmental racing curcuits in the United States that serve as stepping stones for those trying to race with the ‘big boys’.
Champ Car Atlantic Championships (A.K.A. Atlantic)
Cooper Tires sponsor the Atlantic racing series, which holds events across North America during their season. This is the top developmental open-wheel racing series. Most competitors make the jump up to the highest level from this circuit.

Simona de Silvestro

Date of Birth: September 1st, 1988
Hometown: Thun, Switzerland
Simona won her season-opener in 2008 at Long Beach. She races Formula BMWs. She was the first woman in history to earn spots on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway podium with 2 3rd place finishes at the U.S. Grand Prix races.

Firestone Indy Lights
Firestone Indy Lights is another developmental league for those trying to make their way up the ladder to the Indy Racing League (IRL).

Cyndie Allemann

Date of Birth: April 4th, 1986
Hometown: Moutier, Switzerland
Cyndie has had three top-10 finishes in 2008, with her highest being 4th. Besides racing, she is also a pilot and a student back home in Switzerland.
Ana Beatriz
Date of Birth: March 18th, 1985
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Ana has made her way onto 4 podiums so far in her 2008 season; St. Petersburg (3rd), Iowa Speedway (3rd), Watkins Glen (3rd), and Nashville (1st). Her win in Nashville came at the Sunbelt Rentals 100. She has had 5 top 5 finishes and 6 top 10s.
Indy Racing League (IRL)
The Indy Racing League is predominantly an oval-based open-wheel racing series in the United States. It is named after it’s most famous event, the Indianapolis 500. This is the league all the mini-league race car drivers are trying to reach.
Milka Duno
Date of Birth: April 22nd, 1972
 
 Hometown: Caracus, Venezuela
Milka was actually the first Latina to qualify and race in the Indy 500. In 2004, she had 2 wins, 5 top-5 finishes and 10 top-10 finishes placing her 5th in driver point standings. She was the first woman to win a major international sports car race in North America twice. She was also the first woman to drive the Daytona Prototype cars, the fastest cars in the Rolex Series. She was the first woman to have 2 class wins at Petit Le Mans as well.
Milka is not just a race car driver setting new standards for upcoming female drivers. She also has 4…yes, 4… Master’s Degrees, and was featured as a fashion/glamour icon in Vogue, Esquire, and Selectra magazines.
Sarah Fisher

Date of Birth: October 4, 1980
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Sarah had her career-best finish in 2001 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where she came in 2nd. She has had many television and magazine appearances, such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live With Regis & Kelly, Good Morning America, People, Glamour, and Sports Illustrated.

 Danica Patrick

Date of Birth: March 25, 1982
Hometown: Beloit, Wisconsin
Residence: Phoenix, Arizona
Danica is by far the most famous of all the female race car drivers (mostly because of her physical appearance, not her ability to win on the circuit). In her career, she has had 8 top 5 finishes, 26 top 10s, and has led 80 laps. She has yet to pick up a win, but has been close multiple times.
Milka, Sarah, and Danica all three qualified for the Indy 500 in 2007, but all failed to run a solid race.
There are many other females making their way into the racing spotlight, but these are a few just to get you started! These women are all starting a new trend in the racing world, and have set a new standard for the younger girls who may be wanting to drive with the ‘big boys’. It is no longer a man’s sport, but a sport in general.

2 Comments

  1. So Cyndie Allemann is hooking up with Dillon Batiistini. Is this allowed in the Indy lights series?

  2. That is a good question Alice. I haven’t found any sources that say it isn’t allowed, but I will keep looking for a better answer for you. Thanks for leaving a comment!!


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