Saturday, October 02, 2010

Guest Post: Women in Sports: Six Women Racers in the 2 October IndyCar race at Homestead-Miami (by W Rudolph)

Motor Racing is a rarity among major sports -- It is not gender-segregated.

The most famous motor race in the world is the Indianapolis 500 which started in 1911. Janet Guthrie first broke the gender barrier in the Indy 500 in 1977.

The open wheel cars that race in the Indy 500 are part of the IndyCar Racing League (IRL). Women are well represented in this Saturday's October 2 final IRL race at Homestead-Miami Speedway Florida.

There are two American women -- Danica Patrick (Roscoe Illinois, # 7), racer-owner Sarah Fisher (American, # 67), two Latin American women -- Milka Duno (Venezuela, # 18), Ana Beatriz (Brazil, # 24), and one European - Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland, # 78), out of 26 drivers in the race.

Combined, Patrick (6), de Silvestro (14), Beatriz(21), and Fisher (26) turned in a better average finish (16.75) than their male counterparts (17.03) in the 33 car 2010 Indianapolis 500.

When you're not glued to this blog, you might find it fun to watch the IRL on your computer this Saturday October 2 starting at 6pm Eastern Standard Time. The Indy Lights race is at 3:45pm.

Live race viewing is free by signing up with IndyCarNation.

You can watch the race like traditional TV coverage, or set your "camera" at one part of the course, or even better follow two driver's progress with their on-board cameras. There are usually five drivers on-board cameras so it's fairly certain, you can be in the driver's seat with at least one of the women drivers in the 300 mile race.

"Indy" cars race in the Indianapolis 500 and can go 215 miles per hour at Homestead. They run about 40 miles per hour faster than the heavier NASCAR machines on the same tracks.

Danica Patrick, so far the only woman to win an IRL race is the most famous.
She has stretched herself thin this year competing in two major racing leagues --the IRL and NASCAR so her results have not been up to her own high expectations. Still, she has finished the fourth most laps on the IndyCar circuit this year and finished 2nd at Texas and drove to a 6th place in the NASCAR K & N Pro Series at Dover.

Owner-driver Sarah Fisher, the youngest woman at the age of 19 to compete in the Indy 500, holds the record for the fastest qualifying lap in the Indy 500 (229 mph).

She has recently released her book -- "99 Things Women Wish They knew Before Getting Behind The Wheel of Their Dream Job".

Ana Beatrix (Brazil) will be driving the no. 24 Roll Coater car.

Milka Duno, a certified Naval Engineer holding four master's degrees, won the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February of 2004 - the first woman to win a major international sportscar race in North America.

In strong contention for rookie of the year honors, Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland) survived an horrific crash at Texas in which the rescue delayed an excruciating length of time in putting out the fire of Silvestro's number 78 machine. The crash and rescue and Simona's amazingly calm, cool response are on Youtube.

Another European has qualified first for the Firestone Indy Lights series Saturday 2 October at 3:45 ET, (the Triple AAA equivalent of major IRL) Pippa Mann (England) holds the pole position.

Pippa will be trying to win her second straight race even though she is recovering from a broken hand in an earlier season crash.