• Rich Haglund

Actually, we came to watch the pit crew.

"As driver Simona De Silvestro slid into Paretta’s pit box, seven crew members hopped over the wall to get to work. In seconds, they fueled her up, changed her tires, and sent her rocketing back onto the track. The crowd went wild."

Last May, at the Indianapolis 500, Paretta Autosports' mostly female team and all female pit crew were in the spotlight.

Beth Paretta, profiled in this Bostonia article, became interested in racing as a young girl. She began her career in finance for auto manufacturers. While overseeing operations for Aston Martin dealerships in the eastern United States, Paretta because well known in industry circles. Fiat Chrysler hired her to lead a new street and racing technology subdivision that included Maserati, Ferrari, and Alfa Romeo.

When the racing division at Fiat Chrysler was shut down, Paretta saw and took the opportunity to create her own racing team, staffed with women. Paretta knew from experience "that there was a shortage of engineering talent"--talent that had to be cultivated from seeds of interest that began in middle school.

Paretta believed that "seeing 12 women standing in a line in matching crew uniforms" was a way "to put in front of everyone that women can do this too.”

Paretta started a racing team, Grace Autosport, that included an extracurricular arm that still hosts high schoolers at racing venues and participates in STEM conferences for women. Grace Autosport didn't make it to Indy in 2016, but her second organization, Paretta Autosport, did in 2021.

Race car driver and pit crew.
De Silvestro and the all female pit crew. Photo by Joe Skibinski.

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