Revisited: Bump Tales- Janet Guthrie Hits a Wall Then Knocks Another One Down

Above: Janet Guthrie after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 in 1977, becoming the first woman to drive in the race.  Photo from Indystar archives.

Editor’s note: In honor of Paretta Autosport and their team of mostly women mechanics and engineers, and  Simona de Silvestro’ s return to the the Indianapolis 500, I am rerunningthis Bump Tales from 2019.

On May 10, 1977, Janet Guthrie had to be wondering why she had entered the  Indianapolis 500.  In 1976, she couldn’t get up to speed. A. J. Foyt loaned her one of his backup cars for a shakedown test. She turned laps good enough to make the race. But it was just a test. The car she was assigned wasn’t fast enough.

Now, early in May, 1977, she had hit the wall. Her team, owned by Rolla Vollstedt, repaired the car, but a second weekend qualifying run looked more likely than the upcoming opening day of qualifying. She struggled to get above 179 mph. it would take a speed in the 180s to make the 1977 race.

Reader Marcia Ann Conder shared these two photos of her father, Larry Conder, assisting Guthrie after her crash. Conder was a fireman at IMS for 40 years. Thanks, Marcia, for the photos.60747620_2049092421885812_8734681045779087360_n

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Guthrie earned a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and began racing SCCA events in 1963. In 1976 she became the first woman to drive in a NASCAR superspeedway race, finishing 15 in the Charlotte World 600. Earlier in 1977 she entered the Daytona 500 and finished 12th, earning Rookie of the Year honors.

The week after Pole Day was a long one as the team searched for speed. The third day of qualifying passed with Guthrie next in line as the gun went off. She would be first in line on Sunday, Bump Day. The field wasn’t filled yet, so she just had to get in with the best speed possible without the added pressure of beating someone else’s time.

Guthrie qualified easily with an average of 188.403. Her time was the fastest of the day and she would start the race in the middle of row nine. Guthrie said had the car not crashed she could have easily qualified at 191 mph.

Within a year, Janet Guthrie became the first woman to drive in both a NASCAR  superspeedway race and the Indianapolis 500.

Her spot in the field presented Tony Hulman with a dilemma. He needed to change the command to start the race. Hulman prefaced the traditional command with, “In company of the first woman to start at Indianapolis,” before “Gentleman start your engines.” In subsequent years, the command, when necessary, became, “Lady(ies) and gentleman, start your engines.”

The race itself was not great for Guthrie. A cranky engine had her making numerous pit stops. She retired on lap 74, finishing 29th. I remember the crowd cheered every time she drove past my section.

Guthrie race in just two more 500s, finishing ninth in 1978. She participated in 11 Indycar races overall with a best finish of 5th at Milwaukee in 1979.. Guthrie also drove a total of 33 NASCAR races. Her best finish was sixth at Bristol in 1977.

Eight other women have driven in the Indianapolis 500 since Guthrie’s rookie year. Danica Patrick is the only one to have led the race.

1977 capped a decade and a half of transitions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race went from roadsters to all rear engine cars, the front stretch was paved to just a yard of bricks, and speeds began to approach 200 mph. More changes would be coming. It would still take another 14 years before the last driver barrier would be broken.

ESPN will air “Qualified,” a 30 for 30 documentary about Janet Guthrie Tuesday, May 28,  at 9 pm EDT.

Power Leads First Day

Photo: James Black, Indycar

Will Power ran the fastest lap on the opening day of practice for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. with a speed of 226.470 late in the afternoon portion of the day. The fist two hours of veteran practice had two rain interruptions in the first hour, and a third stoppage near the end of the session. Practice never restarted. The Rookie and refresher tests, scheduled to begin at noon suffered a two hour delay.

Graham Rahal led the early practice round. Stefan Wilson and J. R. Hildebrand completed their refresher tests. R. C. Enerson still has one phase to complete of his rookie test due to a mechanical issue. Indycar will allow him to finish the test at 11 am tomorrow, ahead of the noon start of the six hour practice period.

Power was asked if he felt casrs would be able to follow more closely and have more opportunities to pass this year. He thinks so

“…as far as stuck in traffic I felt pretty good just running with two or three cars in front. Felt more comfortable than I have for awhile.That was promising, and yeah, I think cooler conditions can make everything feel pretty good. I think when the heat comes it’ll certainly change everything and become harder to follow.I think adding that downforce is certainly going to help theracing. I think you’re going to have one of the old style races where the front three are just swapping positions constantly because you can follow so close now. I think,yeah, it’s good for the fans,” Power answered.

Today’s results:

Rank Car Driver Name C/E/T Session Time Speed Total Laps
1 12 Power, Will D/C/F Practice 2 00:39.7403 226.470 87
2 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F Practice 2 00:39.7578 226.371 55
3 30 Sato, Takuma D/H/F Practice 2 00:39.7998 226.132 76
4 24 Karam, Sage D/C/F Practice 2 00:39.8332 225.942 69
5 47 Daly, Conor D/C/F Practice 2 00:39.8865 225.640 82
6 22 Pagenaud, Simon D/C/F Practice 2 00:39.9592 225.230 81
7 5 O’Ward, Pato D/C/F Practice 2 00:39.9740 225.146 78
8 9 Dixon, Scott D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.0021 224.988 68
9 18 Jones, Ed D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.0621 224.651 77
10 8 Ericsson, Marcus D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.0686 224.615 85
11 48 Kanaan, Tony D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.0725 224.593 68
12 86 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.1099 224.384 63
13 16 De Silvestro, Simona D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.1373 224.230 81
14 2 Newgarden, Josef D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.1714 224.040 48
15 21 VeeKay, Rinus D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.2158 223.793 82
16 29 Hinchcliffe, James D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.2180 223.780 78
17 7 Rosenqvist, Felix D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.2246 223.744 63
18 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.2377 223.671 69
19 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F Practice 1 00:40.2776 223.449 82
20 98 Andretti, Marco D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.2980 223.336 73
21 26 Herta, Colton D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.2993 223.329 84
22 06 Castroneves, Helio D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.3480 223.059 63
23 27 Rossi, Alexander D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.3581 223.004 74
24 10 Palou, Alex D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.3792 222.887 71
25 3 McLaughlin, Scott (R) D/C/F Practice 1 00:40.3885 222.836 68
26 11 Kimball, Charlie D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.3938 222.806 36
27 4 Kellett, Dalton D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.4729 222.371 61
28 1 Hildebrand, JR D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.4928 222.262 22
29 45 Ferrucci, Santino D/H/F Practice 1 00:40.5034 222.204 42
30 60 Harvey, Jack D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.5199 222.113 56
31 59 Chilton, Max D/C/F Practice 2 00:40.5606 221.890 70
32 51 Fittipaldi, Pietro (R) D/H/F Practice 2 00:40.7657 220.774 80
33 14 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F Practice 1 00:40.8402 220.371 38
34 25 Wilson, Stefan D/H/F Practice 2 00:41.1762 218.573 25
Total Laps for Combined Sessions: 2255

Notes

As wonderful as Saturday was, watching the cars on the oval in mid May was the most welcome sight yet. Everything was as I remembered- the blur of colors whizzing by, the smell of ethanol, the vibration of the fences, the hustle bustle of each team running, stopping, for adjustments, and going out again- and it made me happy. There are even better days to come.

On my walk through Gasoline Alley I noticed two women working on the Paretta Autosport car of Simona De Silvestro. I also saw several other women on crews for other teams. It is a welcome sight and about time Indycar offered opportunities for everyone.

Paretta Autosport crew members. 75% of the crew are women. Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

A. J. Foyt Racing did an outstanding job with the throwback livery on J. R. Hildebrand’s car. It is difficult to represent a roadster livery on a rear engine car. This is one of the best I’ve seen.

The Top Gun entry shows a hint of the Johnny Lightning Special, but also reminds me of the Konstant Hot Special.

Indycar photo by Chris Jones

Tomorrow will see warmer temperatures than today. It should be interesting to see which cqars maintain the day to day consistency despite the weather difference.

Paretta Autosport Gets Rocket Pro TPO Sponsorship; Some Notes of Fan Interest

Paretta Autosport, the all female team which began last July as part of Indycar’s Race for Equality and Change, today announced Rocket Pro TPO as the main sponsor for their one off Indianapolis 500 entry. 500 veteran Simona De Silvestro will drive the car. The team is expected to participate in the open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 8 and 9.

“Having Rocket Pro TPO come onboard as our primary sponsor for this year’s Indy 500 is a perfect partnership,” said Beth Paretta, CEO/team principal of Paretta Autosport. “We are both huge proponents of highlighting the power of women, while also using technology and speed to be the best at what we do. I cannot wait for what we will be able to accomplish as a team – both on and off the track.”

Rocket Pro is a division of Rocket Mortgage. The press release also noted,

“Together, Rocket Pro TPO, Paretta and De Silvestro will partner on the ‘Rocket Accelerator’ multimedia campaign. The group will use unique and innovative ways to amplify women in the mortgage lending and racing spaces by showcasing female leaders who are thriving in these industries.”

Paretta Autosport has a technical partnership with Team Penske.

Notes

Single day tickets for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg went on sale today.

Fans will be allowed to view next week’s open test at IMS from the turn 2 mounds.

The Road to Indy has Spring Training at barber motorsports today. Good news for the return of Indy Lights- 13 cars are entered for the tes.

Money Lion First Sponsor for Paretta Autosport

Money Lion is the first associate sponsor for Paretta Autosport, the number 16 car in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 to be driven by Simona DeSilvestro. The announcement comes on International Women’s day. Sponsorship activation will include several initiatives under Money Lion’s “Women Who Roar” campaign.

The news release:

MoneyLion Launches Its “Women Who Roar” Campaign in Partnership with Paretta Autosport Focused on Leveling the Playing Field for Women Across Finance, Science and Technology

Indianapolis, Ind. (March 8, 2021) -Paretta Autosport and MoneyLion announced today that the financial platform, where hardworking Americans can bank, borrow, save and invest – all within one app, will become the first team sponsor of the No. 16 Chevy-powered INDYCAR at this year’s Indianapolis 500. Paretta is the first female owned, female driven, and female forward race team in the sport.

Paretta Autosport began earlier this year as part of Indycar’s Race for Equality and Change. The team has a technical partnership with Team Penske.

To further the INDYCAR’s “Race for Equality and Change” initiative announced last year, and in honor of International Women’s Day, MoneyLion and Paretta Autosport are also partnering to launch MoneyLion’s “Women Who Roar” campaign to advance financial empowerment, support women’s careers and level the playing field for women across a number of areas in finance, science and technology.

Paretta Autosport will enter the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 30, with 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro.

MoneyLion’s “Women Who Roar” campaign features:

  • Play Like a Girl Mentorship Program: MoneyLion and Paretta Autosport have committed to creating a unique Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) mentorship program for nonprofit, Play Like a Girl. This program will connect middle and high school girls with female leaders in the fintech and motorsports industries. It will also include a new “Here Women Roar” female executive leadership chapter of the organization focused on mentoring teenage girls about technology through customized fintech challenges. Not only will the partnership offer students career guidance, but it will bring them on-site to see their mentors in action, broadening their horizons on potential future careers. MoneyLion mentors will also participate in Play Like a Girl’s Women’s Leadership Summit on March 19.
  • “Women Who Roar” LinkedIn Group: Launching on March 16, MoneyLion is creating a space where women in the workforce can have candid conversations about issues such as financial wellness, mentorship and the wage gap.
  • “Women Who Roar” Conversation Series: MoneyLion is also launching a special conversation series, which includes in-depth interviews with eight influential female leaders, starting with Beth Paretta, CEO and Team Principal of Paretta Autosport, and Simona De Silvestro. The “Women Who Roar” series will air on Cheddar.com beginning on March 16 and explores women trailblazers’ career paths and advice for the next generation of female leaders.

“MoneyLion is committed to providing the financial products, educational resources and mentorship that’s much needed to level the playing field for today’s workforce and future generations of female leaders,” said Samantha Roady, MoneyLion Chief Operating Officer. “Beth Paretta has built an incredible, inspiring team with Simona as the driver. We’re proud to support a female-owned and operated business and to shine a light on inspiring women’s professional achievements through our sponsorship. We look forward to working closely with the team to bring ‘Women Who Roar’ to life.”

After decades of progress, COVID-19 lockdowns have forced many working women to stay home, fundamentally challenging their responsibilities as professionals and primary caregivers. For the first time in modern history, women are losing more jobs and have higher unemployment than men – exacerbating the existing wage gap.

“MoneyLion can contribute to the recovery from this she-cession by standing for ‘Women Who Roar,’” said Roady. “This partnership with Paretta is a first step in that wider campaign.”

“We’re thrilled to align with MoneyLion because of our shared ideals,” said Beth Paretta, CEO/team principal of Paretta Autosport. “MoneyLion’s focus on empowering women through improved financial access and literacy is a direct parallel to our mission of helping women advance their careers. We’re pleased that MoneyLion sees the value of our women-forward racing program and greatly look forward to being a part of their ‘Women Who Roar’ campaign.”

Automotive and motorsport executive Beth Paretta has a long history in leadership roles with some of the most respected automotive and performance brands, including FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), Aston Martin and Volkswagen Group. She led successful racing programs and earned three national championships during her tenure at FCA. She is also aboard member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

“We welcome the support of finance and technology giants like MoneyLion to help us advance our mission to drive diversity and meaningful change for girls and women,” says Dr. Kimberly Clay, founder & CEO, Play Like a Girl. “Building a diverse pipeline of young women in STEM is a major priority for us. We’re thrilled to partner with MoneyLion and Paretta Autosport to support this work and our community.”

To learn more, please visit www.MoneyLion.com, www.ParettaAutosport.com and www.iplaylikeagirl.org.

Media Contacts:
MoneyLion: Iris Leung at pr@moneylion.com; 917.623.5919
Paretta Autosport: Barbara J. Burns at media@parettaautosport.com; 770.329.7134
Play Like a Girl: D. Channing Muller at channing@dcmcommunications.com; 202.744.5228

About MoneyLion
MoneyLion is a mobile banking and financial membership platform that empowers people to take control of their finances. Since its launch in 2013, MoneyLion has engaged with 7.5 million hard-working Americans and has earned its members’ trust by building a full-service digital platform to deliver mobile banking, lending, and investment solutions. From a single app, members can get a 360-degree snapshot of their financial lives and have access to personalized tips and tools to build and improve their credit and achieve everyday savings. MoneyLion is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Sioux Falls, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. MoneyLion has achieved various awards of recognition including the 2020 Forbes FinTech 50, Aite group best digital Wealth Management Multi product offering, Finovate Award for Best DigitalBank 2019, Benzinga FinTech Awards winner for Innovation in Personal Finance 2019 and the Webby Awards 2019 People’s Voice Award. For more information, please visit www.moneylion.com or download the app.

About Paretta Autosport
Paretta Autosport is a new team competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. With a technical alliance with Team Penske, they will attempt to qualify and compete in the 2021 Indy 500 and beyond. More than racing, Paretta Auto sport is an initiative to encourage and mentor young girls and women to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. The team will incorporate women in key roles: mechanics, engineers, marketing, business operations, and more. Created by female automotive and motorsports executive Beth Paretta, the team is part of the INDYCAR series’ “Race for Equality & Change” initiative.

At Paretta Autosport, the competitive spirit drives us. We work hard and always strive for better: for ourselves, for our team, and for others. For more information, go to www.parettaautosport.com.

About Play Like a Girl
Play Like a Girl!® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded on the belief that girls provided with the opportunity to play on a team become women with the confidence to stand on their own. We envision a world where the playing field is level and every girl reaches her full potential and are creating programs to leverage the skills girls gain from sport to propel them into competitive, male-dominated careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We collaborate with schools, corporations and other partner organizations to deliver a coordinated, multi-year program model through which middle school girls experience practical lessons in leadership and engage in hands-on STEM education through the lens of a confidence-building curriculum, while being exposed to inspiring women coaches, mentors and role models. Since its founding in 2004, Play Like a Girl has benefited more than 50,000 girls and women across the world. Learn how you can get involved with this Nashville-based organization at iplaylikeagirl.org, and connect with us on Insta

Paretta Autosport Brings Female-Led Team to Indy; DeSilvestro Returns to the 500

Simona De Silvestro returns to the Indianapolis 500 with Paretta Autosport, headed by Beth P.aretta. The team will receive technical support from Team Penske. More details later.

The announcement from Indycar:

Paretta Autosport, a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES race team spearheaded by female automotive and motorsport executive Beth Paretta, has announced its entry for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro has been announced as the driver for Paretta Autosport, which will utilize Chevrolet power and run the No. 16 for this year’s legendary “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The 32-year-old from Switzerland is a veteran of five Indianapolis 500 starts.

The team is an extension of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s “Race for Equality & Change” announced last July. Team Penske will provide technical support to Paretta Autosport in assisting in the preparation for competing in the race Sunday, May 30.

Paretta Autosport will integrate women in the team to ensure that it provides opportunities, including competition, operations and administrative roles such as logistics, marketing and public relations.

“Today is the beginning of a commitment to gender equity in sport, to encourage women to work hard so they can earn their seat at the table or spot on the grid,” Paretta Autosport Team Principal Beth Paretta said. “INDYCAR has been a leader and a welcoming place for women for many years because of the hard work of many women and men before us, but now we have a stronger commitment with INDYCAR’s ‘Race for Equality & Change’ to make sure opportunities continue in the future.

“Our team, along with our technical alliance with Team Penske, will work hard to give Simona the best car we can provide so she can achieve her best results. Competition drives us. The Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world, and one day soon we hope to have a woman’s face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.”

Said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp.: “We are pleased to welcome Beth and her Paretta Autosport team to INDYCAR this year. Her team’s addition to the INDYCAR ‘Race for Equality & Change’ program this year will ensure that INDYCAR and the Indianapolis 500 continues the legacy of having a female driver qualify for the 2021 Indy 500. Of course, it will be up to Simona and the team to qualify the car for the grid, but knowing Beth, I know that her team will be up for the task.”

Paretta has a long history as an automotive and motorsports executive in leadership roles with some of the most respected performance brands, including SRT (Street and Racing Technology) at FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), where she was the first female director to lead a performance brand and motorsports for an original equipment manufacturer. In that role, she led successful racing programs that earned three national championships: the NASCAR Cup Series championship for Dodge with Team Penske in 2012, the IMSA GTLM championship with the factory Viper GTS-R program in 2014, and the Trans Am championship with the Dodge Challenger TA2 in 2014. She is also a board member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

In addition to her Rookie of the Year honors in 2010, De Silvestro also captured the Tony Renna Firestone Rising Star Award for her 14th-place finish. Her accomplishments throughout the motorsports world are numerous after competing in Australian Supercars, as a Formula One development driver, in Formula E, the IMSA SportsCar Championship and, since 2019, as a factory driver for Porsche.

“I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity to return to Indianapolis and the Indy 500 with Paretta Autosport this year,” De Silvestro said. “My career really took off through my time competing in INDYCAR and the Indy 500, so returning to compete with Beth and her new team in alliance with Team Penske is a special and rare chance in my career. Being part of the goal of diversity and inclusion for everyone, and especially women in INDYCAR, and in motorsports in general, is very important to me and how I would like to see the future of racing. I want to thank the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for taking such an important leadership role in providing gender and overall diversity inclusion in motorsports.”