COMMENTARY | This year's Indy 500 motorsports race hosts four women again. While Danica Patrick is not an entrant in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 Memorial Day weekend race, female participation is holding steady. Despite their underdog status, can one of these women upset Ed Carpenter, Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti or even finish in the top-10?
Danica Patrick is one of 13 drivers to lead the Indy 500 and Daytona 500. So it's not inconceivable to think a woman can burn out after taking the flag and drink the milk one day soon. Perhaps one of these four women is ready to make history.
Last year, the 32-year-old Brit joined Dragon Racing in the IndyCar Series. While her showing in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 race was 22nd after starting from the 30th position, it wasn't all bad for her rookie year on the oval track at Indy.
The hard-driving Legge is piloting the Dallara/Honda/Firestone 81 car, the third entry for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports this year.
Katherine Legge spent a large amount of time in developmental open-wheel series. And in 2005, she became the first woman to score a victory. That same year, Legge reached the milestone of becoming the first woman to test a Formula One car since Sarah Fisher earned the honors three years earlier.
By finishing in ninth place in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. another 500-mile race; it's not out of the question that she could have a strong showing with her Indy 500 start this year.
The 28-year-old Brazilian competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series was the first woman in the world to win in the Firestone Indy Lights and in the Formula Renault. That's not too shabby for a racecar driver, who began kart racing when she was only 12.
In 2008, Ana Beatriz won her first Indy Lights Series at the Nashville Superspeedway. The next year, she won Indy Lights again. That same year, she became the first woman to a race event at Iowa Speedway.
Bia, as she is affectionately called, is hands-on, intuitive and has a keen eye on fitness, a trait some drivers often overlook. I like her chances to finish in the money at this year's Indy 500.
Sure, it's a longshot, but if you would have taken a bet against Danica, you'd be pulling up lent out of your pockets.
The 29-year-old Brit started single-seat racing a decade ago. Since then, she's logged 27 Firestone Indy Lights Series starts, has one win (Kentucky Speedway) and qualified for three poles.
Since landing in open wheel, Pippa Mann has changed teams several times, but appears to have found a home with Dale Coyne Racing.
Mann, like Ana Beatriz, starts the Indianapolis 500 deep in row 10. However, if her performance is anything like the 2011 Indy 500, she'll have no problem finding her way through traffic. Back then, she qualified for 32nd place and moved up 12 positions.
I still wonder how she could have done had her water hydration didn't malfunction. She finished the 500-mile race - the first British woman to do so - and her crew learned she was severely dehydrated.
Even with a string of crashes that would have left many sidelined, Pippa bounced back and didn't bat and eye.
In 2011 while practicing for the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Mann crashed and fractured some bones in her neck. Not even two months later, she competed in the Kentucky Indy 300.
And two weeks later, Pippa Mann was involved in a multiple car crash at the Las Vegas Speedway. She suffered severe burns to her hand and had surgery later.
Dan Wheldon, two-time Indy 500 winner, died in that horrific pileup.
Still, Mann was not spooked by the string of crashes. If nothing else, she has heart. And at many times, that's all that is needed to win an edge. Keep an eye on this Brit in the No. 63 car.
Simona de Silvestro
The Swiss driver is young but has a number of starts under her belt. At 24, she has 49 starts and six in the money finishes in 2009 alone.
And get this: Simona de Silvestro aka "Swiss Miss" and "The Iron Maiden," earned a record-breaking nine podium trips at the 2009 Atlantic Championship Season.
After she brought her A-game that year, she hit a milestone in becoming the first woman in series history to lead the most laps, win the most poles and log the most victories.
This year marks her fourth start at the Indy 500: two with Honda, one with the shabby Lotus car and this year with Chevrolet.
Simona has one top-5 IZOD IndyCar Series finish and eight in the top-10.
Of the four women in the 2013 Indy 500, I like her chances best.
That's my dime. Who are your picks to drink the milk this year?
Bradley is a professional writer, journalist, sportswriter, and avid fan of the NBA, Motorsports, NFL, PGA and all things tennis. He keeps a watchful eye on Miami Heat developments.
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- Danica Patrick
- Indy 500
- Daytona 500
- Katherine Legge
- Ana Beatriz