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NBCSN Reporter Hargitt Driving Girls toward Motorsports Careers with 'Fuel the Female'

Katie Hargitt woke up one morning earlier this year and realized there was no time like the present.

Hargitt has been in motorsports for 18 years, first as a short-track open-wheel driver and now as a reporter on NBC Sports Network coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series and as a Public Address announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She often wondered how she could help to find a path for more young women to work in the world of racing, especially in the engineering, mechanical and business side of the sport.

The moment of clarity struck her as she opened her eyes one late winter morning.

“A few months ago, I woke up, and I thought: ‘This is the year of the woman. We can’t miss this opportunity to bring out young women, empower young women to achieve their dreams and show them all the successful women in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock.’”

Fuel the Female was born.

The new group aims to empower young women to pursue careers in motorsports and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related industries. Fuel the Female’s inaugural event took place Tuesday, May 15 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with 60 Indianapolis Public Schools female students visiting the track for the day and learning more about the exciting world of motorsports.

A variety of women with prominent careers in motorsports spoke to the girls in the North Chalet and the Firestone Suite at the track, sharing their experiences and encouragement about a career in racing, including:

  • Danica Patrick, Indianapolis 500 and Verizon IndyCar Series driver
  • Lisa Boggs, Director of Motorsports, Bridgestone Americas
  • Cara Adams, Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports
  • Kate Guerra, INDYCAR Senior Manager, National Media Outreach
  • Kate Gundlach, Assistant Engineer, Chip Ganassi Racing
  • Jessica Mace, Mechanic and Pit Crew Member, Andretti Autosport

The girls also received Fuel the Female book bags, were served lunch and got a chance to watch the opening day of practice for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil from a trackside vantage point in the Firestone Suite and in the grandstands.

Hargitt, a native of the Indianapolis area, said she has been overwhelmed with the response from the entire IndyCar community, male and female.

“I get goose bumps just thinking of it because the moment I started talking to some women I admire about Fuel the Female, there was immediately support,” Hargitt said. “All the engineers, all the mechanics, everyone, from women to men, to team owners to drivers have been incredibly supportive.”

As the organization grows, Hargitt hopes Fuel the Female will serve as a door for an exciting new world for young women.

“As a reporter, so many times I see young girls up against the fence, looking for someone that looks like them in pit lane,” Hargitt said. “And there’s only a few of them. So I hope that girls come out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or they come into a Fuel the Female program and it lights a fire in them and a passion in them for motorsports so that we can grow that few into an army.”

Visit fuelthefemale.org to learn more about Fuel the Female, to join the foundation or to donate to the program.



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