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Indy 500: More women enter motorsports races – Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather | Indiana Traffic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the cars prepare to hit the track for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, women have played key roles in the teams at the front of the field.

The number of women in the boxes above and below the pit lane continues to grow compared to previous years.

A Pato O’Ward car worker says she wouldn’t be where she is without her degree from Purdue University’s Motorsports Engineering program. “I’m basically programming the computer that’s in the car and the steering wheel,” Lizzie Todd said while she was in the garage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Todd is a systems engineer. “I’m responsible for all radios, telemetry, electronics, anything that has a sensor or cable, accessing it in car 5 is my responsibility,” Todd said.

When O’Ward is on the track, Todd has an even more important job: calculating fuel consumption. From the box he is in constant communication with the team strategist.

“The booth will give me kind of an idea of ​​the lap number when we want to go in, and I’ll calculate a fuel number and basically tell our race caller how much fuel Pato needs to save in order to make it to the lap. what they want to convert it into. It’s really complicated addition and subtraction; That’s all it is.”

Todd’s love of motorsports comes from his relationship with his father. “He took me to my first 500 when I was 8 years old and I saw a car go from 60 to 220 in 3 seconds and I fell in love.”

In eighth grade, he found the motorsports engineering program at Purdue. “That program gave me everything I needed to get into motorsports.”

Todd is proud to be part of a growing group of women in the pits. “There are about 20 of us. There are more. “I see more and more every year, which is incredible.”

Her advice to other young women who want to get to where she is: “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Every question is a valid question and you should be here. “If you want to be here, you should be here.”