Equal rights activists note that, with few exceptions, motor racing is an almost entirely male-dominated sport. In fact, the vast majority of racing drivers are white men, with only a handful of pioneers like Narayan Karthikeyan, Danica Patrick and Lewis Hamilton breaking through the grid. But this year, the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prominent races in the world (certainly in America) will feature, for the first time in motorsport history, three female drivers.
Lynn St. James and Sarah Fisher made history in 2000 when they became the first two women to line up together at the event, but this year Citgo-sponsored Milka Duno (pictured, right) of Venezuela will be driving a Dallara-Honda for the Samax team, along with Patrick and Fisher. Duno becomes the fifth woman to compete in the Indy 500.
The Indy Racing League is struggling, however, to fill the rest of the field. At the last reporting, only 27 entries have been received for this year's race, and seven of those don't even have drivers assigned to them yet. That's a far cry from the traditional starting grid of 33. Among the 27 currently registered for the race are five from Andretti-Green Racing, four from Vision Racing (owned by Indy chief Tony George), three from AJ Foyt, and three cars from Penske. It has not yet been revealed who will drive the third Penske car, and similar question marks loom over drivers from Vision, Foyt, Beck and Sam Schmidt's Indy Pro Series team. Meanwhile, although neither the Cheever nor Fernandez teams competed in the Indy Racing Series this season, insiders were still surprised the neither filed entries for the Indy 500.