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Indy 500 Team Of Mostly Women Paretta Autosport Has Impact Off The Track

Paretta Autosport crew members prepare the car ahead of the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. (Samantha Horton/IPB News)

Paretta Autosport’s debut in the Indianapolis 500 this past weekend further raised awareness of the lack of women in motor sports. The mostly women team made history with a female owner, a female driver and majority women pit crew. While not having the finish they wanted on the track, the team is making progress off the track.

The team is a part of track owner Roger Penske’s Race for Equality and Change initiative

Ahead of race day, the No. 16 car driver Simona de Silvestro said it’s been really cool to see all the young girls inspired by the team.

“I think that’s cool about the team because they can see I could be changing a tire, I could be engineering, you know, and stuff like that,” said de Silvestro. “Then just seeing all these possibilities. I would see myself as the driver, but there are so many opportunities out there, especially in racing.”

The team finished 31 out of 33 cars at this year’s Indy 500.

Even though the results were not what the Paretta Autosport team was hoping for, team owner Beth Paretta said just competing in a historic event like the Indy 500 is an accomplishment for the team’s first race. 

Paretta said there are lessons learned that the team will be able to work on for future races.

Since the team was announced in January, Paretta Autosport has gained plenty of fans, including 7-year old Elena Jimerson. Watching the race from home, Jimerson said she was excited to see a team of mostly women compete.

“I think it was just really cool to see all the women out there and how they were working together,” said Jimerson. “And it was just really cool.”

Her mom Kelly Tingle said the team has helped her talk with her daughter about the importance of diversity and future career opportunities – whether it be in motor sports or being a business leader like team owner Beth Paretta.

“So watching the Peretta team has allowed us to talk about the power that representation has and to ensure that people can see themselves in their futures and in the possibilities that they have in their future,” said Tingle.

Tingle says she plans to take her daughter to the race next year to cheer on the Paretta team in person.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

Last month, we welcomed Samantha Horton to our station. She is Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter, mainly reporting on business and economic issues in the States of Indiana for WBAA. After graduated from Evansville University with a triple majors degree (International studies, Political science and Communication), Samantha worked for a Public Radio at Evansville for three years, and then she joined WBAA because she wanted to take a bigger role on reporting. So far she enjoyed working in WBAA as business and economy reporter.