Paretta Autosport Makes Field for Indy 500 in Dramatic Final Qualifying Effort
INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, May 23) – Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 held its reputation for coming down to the wire on “Bump Day” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The No. 16 Paretta Autosport/Rocket Pro TPO Chevy of Simona De Silvestro was one of five entrants for the 105th annual Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge attempting to grab the final three spots for the grid for the 500-mile May 30th race.
De Silvestro was on “the bubble” in the 33rd position after her four-lap Day Two qualifying run that averaged 228.353. Two of the cars that had slower times opted to make a second qualifying effort, which left Simona waiting patiently in her cockpit while the clock ticked down. Fortunately, neither was able to bump her off the final row for the 33-car grid.
The team’s journey to qualifying for the Indy 500 field started just four months ago when CEO and team owner Beth Paretta announced on January 19th her goal to qualify for this year’s Indy 500 with a female-forward team and message. With a technical alliance with Team Penske and an extension of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s “Race for Equality & Change” announced last July, the team’s journey has been quick and well documented.
The “Iron Maiden” from Switzerland, De Silvestro has now qualified every one of the six attempts she’s had at Indianapolis, the first being in 2010, when she was the Rookie of the Year. This is Paretta Autosport’s first attempt as the team came to Indy with a lineup of 70% women in both competition and commercial roles. The majority female team promotes STEM education and seeks to be role models for young women everywhere to work hard and follow their dreams.
Simona De Silvestro, Driver, No. 16 Paretta Autosport Rocket Pro TPO entry
“What a day! It was definitely nerve racking being in this position. I’m super happy that we made it in the field because of everyone involved, and because of all the hard work that got put in. It would have been crazy to not have made it. From that point of view, we’re super relieved. Now we just focus on racing and I think we could be pretty good because our car was pretty competitive.
“For Beth, I just wish it wouldn’t have been as crazy for the first time we were racing together. At least we got that one out of the way and now we can really focus on this going forward. It was interesting but you know I think we all stuck together, worked hard and that’s what made us strong to be here today.”
Beth Paretta, Team Owner, No. 16 Paretta Autosport Rocket Pro TPO entry
“It’s unbelievable. It’s like climbing a mountain and getting to the top and looking around to see how beautiful it is. It’s just amazing and a testament to everybody working hard overnight, digging in and never giving up. That’s what it is. And that’s what got us here and that’s what got us onto the grid today.
What’s the plan the rest of the week leading into Indy?
“We will go back to working our pit stops and get the car back into race trim. Honestly, in fairness, if you look at the time sheets from this week, race trim, the car is a lot stronger and Simona’s a lot more comfortable in it. We’re looking forward to getting back into that set up because I think we do a little better. It is tough to pass here with the aeroscreens so we’ll have to see. It is tough to start from the last row, but you can’t do it if you’re not in it so at least we’ve got a shot.”
The 105th Indianapolis 500 will be aired live on NBC from 11:00-4:00 p.m. on May 30th. All times are eastern.
|For more information, please visit www.parettaautosport.com or the team’s social media channels.|