More women are holding key positions in the Indy 500 and motorsports

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The number of women on pit boxes up and down pit lane continues to grow.

One of them is Lizzie Todd, who works on Pato O’Ward’s team. O’Ward competes full-time in the IndyCar Series.

Todd says she wouldn’t be here without her degree from the Purdue Motorsports engineering program.

“I’m basically programing the computer that’s in the car, as well as his steering wheel,” Todd said.

Todd is a systems engineer.

“I’m responsible for all the radios, telemetry, electronics. Anything that has a sensor or wire going to it on the car is my responsibility,” she said.

When O’Ward is on the track, Todd has an even more important job of calculating the fuel mileage. From the pit box, she’s in constant communication with the team strategist.

“The stand will give me kind of an idea of a lap number when we want to come in, and I will calculate a fuel number,” she said. “And tell our race caller how much fuel Pato needs to save to be able to make it to the lap that they want to make it into. It is really complicated addition and subtraction. That is all it is.”

Todd’s love of motorsports comes from her relationship with her dad.

“He took me to my first 500 when I was eight,” she said. “And I saw a car go from 60 to 220 [mph] in 3 seconds and I just fell in love.”

In the eighth grade, she found the Purdue Motorsports engineering program.

“That program gave me everything I needed to get started in motorsports,” she said.

Todd said she feels a sense of pride to be part of a growing group of women on pit road.

“There’s about 20 of us. There’s more. I see more and more every year, which is awesome,” Todd said.

Her advice to other young women who want to get to where she is today is to not be afraid to put yourself out there or to ask questions.

“Every question is a valid question, and you are meant to be here. If you want to be here, you are meant to be here,” she said.

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