In a sport dominated by men, a group of women is paving the way for females in racing. 

Firestone Racing engineer Cara Adams said, “It’s not much different from being a male in motorsports for the most part. People respect results in motorsports. If you’re able to engineer a fast car or make a fantastic tire, people are going to respect that.” 

Fuel the Female, a program with a mission to inspire young women to pursue a career in motorsports, made its debut at the track on opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice. Few females have had a greater influence on motorsports than Danica Patrick. 

Patrick said, “I don’t doubt that there were people who didn’t think I could do this in their mind. You can feel that. You can feel when people don’t believe in you. And to be honest, there were times when I didn’t think so either. You know, you have to find ways to cope with that and how to gain empowerment and confidence and know what you want and be absolutely determined to get there.”

“Danica has really been a pioneer for this entire program,” Katie Hargitt, the founder of Fuel the Female, said. “Not only is she a successful driver, but she’s also a successful business woman. She’s the prime example of someone we’re trying to show young girls with Fuel the Female.” 

No doubt Patrick has left her mark in motorsports. She has also had success in the business realm. The driver of No. 13 had some advice for girls as they choose a career path.

“Just find something you actually freaking like to do. That I feel is the hardest thing. To be honest with yourself about ‘I hate this job’ or ‘I’m miserable here,'” Patrick said. “This is what I really love. This is what I do on the side. How can I make a career of that?’ I’m just here to tell you that you can make a career out of anything.”

The Indianapolis 500 will be May 27.