Young Indy 500 fans cheering for women drivers - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Young Indy 500 fans cheering for women drivers

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Sydney Graber Sydney Graber
Katherine Miller is a fan of her namesake, Katherine Legge. Katherine Miller is a fan of her namesake, Katherine Legge.
Ana Beatriz Ana Beatriz
Katherine Legge Katherine Legge
INDIANAPOLIS -

Could it be year of the woman? It's as good a time as any for a woman to win the Indy 500. With four women in the field, this year ties the record for the most female drivers in the big race.

The rumble of the track, the smell of exhaust and burnt rubber can be intoxicating for any race fan. But for the little girls watching the women take on the Indy 500, this is the stuff dreams are made of.

It's not a sport for the faint of hear, and for years, it was thought it wasn't a sport for women either. But talk to Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge or Simona de Silvestro and they'll tell you they're no different from the men.

"I feel like when we wear the helmet, we all look the same," said Simona de Silvestro, IndyCar Driver.

They race the same: fast!

"It's nice to have four competitive women in the field and hopefully we can win this time," Ana Beatriz, IndyCar Driver.

"It's a dream come true," said Katherine Legge, IndyCar Driver.

Their presence is fueling the dreams of many little girls cheering for their favorite female driver.

"Who's your favorite driver?" we asked.

"Katherine," said Katherine Miller, racing fan.

"Why Katherine?" asked Cline.

"I don't know," said Miller.

"Could it be because your name is Katherine?" we suggested.

"Yeah," said Miller.

McKenna Mienaltowski is rooting for Pippa Mann.

"She's a girl and kind of inspires me a little bit that girls can do stuff boys can do," said McKenna.

"It gives the women a chance to win and it inspires the little girls to figure out what they want to be and what they want to do when they grow up," said Sydney Graber, racing fan.

"I can see more and more girls liking it and trying it and it's all possible with the right support, family support and sponsors," said Ana Beatriz, IndyCar Driver.

"Do you think you'd ever want to be a race car driver?" we asked.

"Yeah. That would be really cool," said McKenna.

While women are certainly breaking barriers in the front seat, there are still hurdles to clear when it comes to the pit.

"What we need is more female engineers, more females in mechanics, tire changes, et cetera. That's still male dominated," said Legge.

But, for now, it's the need for speed that's driving young ladies to take on racing - sort of.

"It looks kind of fun going fast. But it looks scary too," said Graber.

Several of the young ladies said that. But they also said when they grow up like Pippa, Ana, Katherine and Simona, they hope they'll be just as brave and follow in their tread marks!

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