The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place this Sunday (May 29, 2022) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. Billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indy 500 is one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport – making it one of the most prestigious events in all of motorsports.
The other Triple Crown races are the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That’s interesting because the latter just so happens to have been the topic of the assignment last time I was clearly baited by my supposed “friend” and editor into getting myself canceled.
|50% up to $1,000|
|125% up to $2,500|
|100% up to $500|
|50% up to $1,000|
|100% up to $1,000|
|100% up to $1,000|
In April, I was tasked with determining whether the 24 Hours of Le Mans was harder than 24 consecutive hours of Lamaze techniques during childbirth. Now, I’ve been asked to set my sights on women drivers in the Indy 500, and why they should have their own race at the fabled Brickyard.
Women in the Indy 500
A woman driver in the Indy 500 is nothing new – not that it’s an especially frequent occurrence. Since the race’s inception, ten women have officially entered at least once.
Sarah Fisher, who will be driving the pace car on Sunday, has the most career starts with nine. Danica Patrick has been the most successful and recorded the best result for a woman Indy 500 driver with a third-place finish in 2009.
Three Indy 500 women have won the Rookie of the Year Award:
- Lyn St. James
- Danica Patrick
- Simona de Silvestro
The Women Record Holder of the Indianapolis 500:
The 104th running in 2020 was the first since 1991 that didn’t feature a single woman driver in the Indy 500.
However, the ladies made a resurgence last year with the female-led Paretta Autosport race team launched by Beth Paretta (more on them later). Unfortunately, there won’t be any women Indy 500 drivers on Sunday.
That’s by design; Simona de Silvestro and the Paretta team still have huge plans for the future.
1. They Offer the Superior Product
If there have already been ten women drivers in the Indy 500, what’s the point of creating an all-female edition of the race? Danica Patrick finished third before, so they can obviously compete with the men. As far as I’m concerned, that argument misses the point entirely.
That’s right, the men are holding women drivers back. Everyone with a brain knows that in a fairer world, every official entry in the main race would be occupied by a woman Indy 500 driver!
Who wants to watch four quarters of ankle-shattering ball-handling, explosive dunks over defenders, and 30-foot three-pointers when the WNBA is serving up a frenzy of fundamentals? Real basketball is all about crisp bounce passes, ball movement, and layups (even on uncontested breakaways).
If David Stern and his predecessor Adam Silver weren’t so sexist, women ballers would already occupy the vast majority of NBA roster slots. Stern could see the way the winds of change were shifting when he hastily founded the WNBA in 1996, funneling all the top talent into a secondary league and away from the product he’d been actively cultivated for years.
Many believe the decision was made when it was to divert women like Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoops away from the NBA, where they would likely have altered the balance of power in the league and prevented Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls’ second three-peat from ever happening.
Fortunately, recent trends suggest cracks beginning to form in the foundation of racing’s patriarchy. They are women and Indianapolis will hear them roar!
2. Because They’re Already Taking Over
2021’s Female-Led Race Team
As I mentioned before, in 2021, a female-led ownership group spearheaded by Beth Paretta was formed.
Under her leadership, racing programs have earned three national championships:
Women comprise 70% of the organization’s roster, for competitive and commercial roles alike.
The team’s driver is 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro, Her No. 16 car qualified for the Indy 500 last year but was stuck on the outside of the eleventh row of the starting grid. Despite the handicap, she blasted her male competitors off the track, finishing in 31st place out of 33 entrants.
Of course, true feminists recognize that she really won the race if not for some dirty tactics from her male rivals, including multiple Mario Kart banana peel traps and at least one blue shell.
“It’s important to me that the bigger message is this isn’t women at the expense of men,” says Beth Paretta, hoping to lull opposing male executives and IndyCar officials into a false sense of security during the earliest stages of the invasion of women drivers in the Indy 500. “I’m trying to expand the grid.”
3. The Future is Female
Obviously, Paretta is lying. Much like the superstars of the WNBA, women drivers in the Indy 500 are far superior to the patriarchal chuds clogging up the Brickyard’s track every year. If they weren’t naturally better drivers, then why is car insurance so much more expensive for teenage boys?
Now that the door is open, there’s no way for them to prevent the best women drivers from hijacking an ever-growing share of the starting grid. And teams want to win more than anything else, so they won’t be so stubborn as to retain male drivers out of some sense of tradition.
It’ll be because they’ve steadily replaced all the male talent and effectively taken over the main race. If anything, by the year 2030, there will be calls to create a secondary event only for men – and much like the NBA, it will be the inferior product.