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The Indy 500: Top 10 Women

Danica Patrick (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Top 10 Indy 500 Women

The Indy 500 Top 10 Women

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#1 Danica Patrick
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Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway


#10 Pippa Mann - A race winner in the Indy Lights series, Mann has driven in the Indianapolis 500 four times with a top finish of 20th in her rookie year of 2011. In addition to her racing career, Mann has been a broadcaster on the IndyCar Radio Network, and has been a strong advocate for further research into fighting breast cancer through her work with Susan J. Komen Foundation.

#9  Ana Beatriz - Another driver who won in Indy Lights on her way to IndyCar, Ana Beatriz has made four starts in the Indianapolis 500. Beatriz’s best finish in the Greatest Spectacle In Racing came in her final “500” in 2013. The Brazilian driver finished 15th driving for Dale Coyne Racing. One of her teammates that day was Pippa Mann, which marked the first time two women were teammates in the World’s Greatest Race.

#8  Katherine Legge - British-driver Katherine Legge hopes to make history in the 100th Indianapolis 500 in May for Grace Autosport, the first all-female IndyCar team. Legge was the first woman to ever win a race in an open-wheel racing series in North America when she took the checkered flag three times in 2005 in the Toyota Atlantic series. Legge’s top finish in two Indianapolis 500’s is 22nd in 2012. She led 27 laps of the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona this past February. 

#7 Simona de Silvestro - Switzerland’s Simona de Silvestro became the third woman to win the Rookie of the Year award at the Indianapolis 500, with a 14th place finish in 2010. de Silvestro gained legions of fans at the Brickyard by bouncing back from adversity several times, including her response to an airborne crash at the Speedway in 2011.

#6 Maude Yagle - A pioneer in the sport that many fans know nothing about, Maude Yagle was the first woman to enter the race as a car owner in 1929. Her driver, Ray Keech, promptly won the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, making her the first woman to own the winning car, a distinction she still holds more than 85 years later.

#5 Sarah Fisher - One of the most popular drivers in recent years at the Speedway, Sarah Fisher competed in nine Indianapolis 500’s, with a top finish of 18th in 2007. In 2002, Fisher qualified 9th for the 500 at 229-point-439 miles per hour. It remains the fastest qualifying speed by a female driver in Brickyard history. Fisher is also an entrepreneur, having been a team owner in the IndyCar Series, and has recently added pace car duties to her busy life.

#4  Lyn St. James - After a successful career in sports cars, St. James finally debuted at the Brickyard in 1992 at the age of 45. But St. James was voted Rookie of the Year after an 11th place finish, becoming the first female driver to win the award.  St. James made seven starts in the “500” including the 1994 race where she rolled off the grid in the second row. How impressive was that? Consider that the third row that year was former World Champion Nigel Mansell, and Indianapolis 500 winners Arie Luyendyk and Mario Andretti. One of St. James greatest contributions to the sport has come from her driver development program, where she has taught young female drivers important lessons off the track.

#3  Mari Hulman George - You may only know Mari Hulman George from hearing her give the command to get the greatest race in the world going, but she has been involved in racing for decades, including as a pioneering car owner. Hulman George owned sprint cars, and also entered cars at the Speedway in the 1960’s before becoming the chairman of the board of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hulman & Company in 1988. In addition to her duties with Hulman & Company, Hulman George is a well-known philanthropist who is especially active in the rescue and adoption of racing greyhounds.

#2 Janet Guthrie - A well-respected pioneer of the sport, Janet Guthrie became the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1977, after failing to make the race in her first attempt the previous year. Guthrie ran three Indianapolis 500’s, with a top finish of 9th in 1978. Not only did Guthrie have a top-10 finish in the “500” she scored a 5th place finish at Milwaukee in 1979, her best career IndyCar effort. In addition, Guthrie ran 33 career NASCAR races, with a career best 6th place finish at Bristol in 1977.

#1 Danica Patrick - The first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500, Patrick nearly became the first female to win it in 2005. Patrick led 19 laps that day, electrifying the crowd on her way to a 4th place finish.  Patrick’s sensational performance landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week, not the winner of the race, the first Indy 500 driver on the cover since 1987. It’s a common misconception that Patrick’s rookie year was her best finish at the Brickyard, but she actually finished 3rd in 2009. Patrick raced in the “500” seven times, and finished in the top 10 in all of them but one.


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