Fan’s View: Even Without Danica, Women Are Still Prevalent at Indy 500

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For the first time since 2004, the Indianapolis 500 will be without Danica Patrick, who has made the move from IndyCar to NASCAR and will be running in one of the Sprint Cup Series' premiere events, the Coca Cola 600 on Memorial Day, May 27. Even without Patrick in the field, the ladies will be well represented at the 2012 Indy 500, both behind the scenes and in the field.

Sarah Fisher - she hung up her helmet in 2010, but Fisher is still a force at the track, and has proven especially potent at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fisher, who competed in nine Indy 500s as a driver (the most of any woman), put Ed Carpenter in the Sarah Fisher Racing car in 2011, and the #67 started eighth and finished 11th. For 2012, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing has two rookies in the cockpits of the new IndyCars: 2011 Indy Lights champ Josef Newgarden, starting seventh in the #67 and 2010 USAC National Champion Bryan Clauson, starting 31st in the #39.

Ana Beatriz - the highest-qualified woman in this year's Indy 500 field, Beatriz will start 13th in the #25 fielded by Conquest Racing and Andretti Autosport. This marks Beatriz's third start in the 500; she finished 21st in both previous races. In 2008, Beatriz finished fifth in the Indy Lights' Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Katherine Legge - Legge is a rookie at the Indy 500, but is no stranger to open-wheel racing: she competed in and won three races in the Toyota Atlantic Series in 2005, and also spent two seasons in the Champ Car World Series (2006 and 2007), with a best finish of sixth. She'll start the Indy 500 in the #6 from Dragon Racing in the 30th position.

Simona de Silvestro - the Swiss driver will compete in her third Indy 500 for HVM Racing, starting the #78 in the 32nd position. In her first 500 in 2010, she qualified 22nd and finished 14th, earning Rookie of the Race honors. In 2011, she qualified 24th and finished 31st.

Paula is a long-time auto racing fan who also covers the sport at Skirts & Scuffs and Examiner.com.

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