Chip Ganassi Racing, PNC Bank launch Women in Motorsports campaign

Ganassi women motorsports
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment
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Chip Ganassi Racing and PNC Bank marked International Women’s Day with the launch of a campaign to drive gender equality in motorsports.

Women in Motorsports will feature both a video content series showcasing female industry leaders and an internship program designed to create opportunities in motorsports for women.

“While women continue to make inroads in careers dominated by males, such as motorsports, tech and finance, much work remains in achieving greater access to highly skilled jobs and equal pay,” said Debbie Guild, head of Enterprise Technology and Security and chief security office at PNC Bank.

“Making inroads to build out the next pipeline of female innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders is critical to closing the economic gender gap,” Guild added. “We all recognize that a diverse workforce can spark innovation in the workplace and influence economic inclusion for all. This program shines a light on this business imperative.”

The application portal for the internship element of the Women In Motorsports campaign opened Tuesday on Chip Ganassi Racing’s official website. The team will select qualified female college students by April 1 for on-site learning and career-development experiences throughout the 2022 season.

“We’re excited to highlight the achievements of our team members and share a behind-the-scenes look at their contributions to this championship organization, which will hopefully help pave the way for female students to develop specialized skills in areas such as racing operations and engineering to information technology and athletic training,” said team owner Chip Ganassi.

The campaign will highlight several top female employees in the Ganassi organization, which last year featured a pair of women on two of its winning IndyCar teams.

Danielle Shepherd, shown at Mid-Ohio last season, worked on Alex Palou’s 2021 IndyCar championship team (Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment).

The video series will feature engineer Angela Ashmore, mechanic Anna Chatten, Extreme E driver Sara Price and Danielle Shepherd, who was the simulation engineer on Alex Palou’s championship team in 2021. Shepherd, who previously won a championship with Scott Dixon, has been promoted this season to lead race engineer on one of Ganassi’s sports car teams.

“Winning a championship takes commitment, cooperation and persistence, and Danielle Shepherd brought that every day,” Dixon said. “I was very impressed with her expertise and intelligence during our championship run in 2018 and am thrilled to see her continued success with CGR.

“I hope that one day, it isn’t necessarily a rarity to see women working on the team side of things in motorsports, and I’m happy for Danielle that she can be a leader in this program and share her knowledge with the next generation.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III