A closer look at the 2011 Indianapolis 500 field …

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Speedway Sightings at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published in the Post-Tribune, a Chicago Sun-Times Publication
May 24, 2011

This year’s Indy 500 field is not only the most competitive since the CART/Indy Racing Series split in 1996; it is also the closest-matched field by elapsed-time in Indy history. A mere 2.5399 seconds separate fastest qualifier Alex Tagliani and the 33rd driver on the grid, Ana Beatriz.

Today we will take a closer look at the four women who will drive in the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500.

The most experienced is Danica Patrick, having qualified for her seventh 500. Her record at Indy is mixed with her best showing being in 2009, when she finished third. She hasn’t led a lap at the Brickyard since her Rookie-of-the-Year race in 2005. In six Indy 500 races she has had 5 top-10 finishes and it appears her No. 7 Go-Daddy/Andretti Autosport entry has the speed for her to capture another top-10 spot.

Simona De Silvestro is starting her second Indy 500 (finishing 14th) in just two years of IndyCar racing. She is the highest ranking woman driver in the series at 11th and already has one top-five and two top-ten finishes in just four races this season. De Silvestro’s return to qualify 24th with a speed of 224.392 miles per hour in her backup car, the No. 78T Nuclear Clean Air Energy/HVM Racing entry after experiencing second-degree burns on her hands, from the worst crash at the Brickyard this May, has made her a crowd favorite.

Ana Beatriz also qualified for her second Indy 500 (she finished 21st in the 2010 race) in just her second season in the series. She returns to the 500 driving the No. 24 Team Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold car, starting 33rd. She is an IndyCar series regular joining the series after being a two-time winner on ovals in Indy Lights driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. She is the first female driver to earn an Indy Lights victory.

Rookie Pippa Mann, driving the No. 36 Conquest Racing car will be driving in her first 500 after having competed in the Indy Lights in 2009-10. She finished fifth in series for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2010. She is only the second woman to win in series with victory from the pole in 2010 and has proven her ability to get up to speed by capturing three pole positions in 2010.

This year’s Indy 500 field is not only the most competitive since the CART/Indy Racing Series split in 1996; it is also the closest-matched field by elapsed-time in Indy history. A mere 2.5399 seconds separate fastest qualifier Alex Tagliani and the 33rd driver on the grid, Ana Beatriz.

In our next trackside report we will examine the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie Class.

Simona De Sylvestro

Simona De Sylvestro

Comments are closed.