The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season got underway last weekend with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding. The event saw history made by Team Penske as for the first time in their history, a female crew member worked over the wall during the race.
Caitlyn Brown worked with two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Paddock Eye caught up with Willmington, Illinois native this week.
Hi Caitlyn, thank you for joining me.
Firstly, can I ask, how did you get involved in motorsport?
“I come from a racing family. We are known for that in Wilmington, Illinois, where I’m from. I raced four-cylinder dirt cars when I was younger but found the best path for me to stay involved in racing was in preparing the cars.”
You became the first female pit crew member for Team Penske to work over the wall in St Petersburg last weekend. What was that experience like?
“Doing something for the first time or breaking a barrier at a team like Team Penske is a huge honor. It shows that hard work always pays off. The cars don’t know what gender the mechanics or pit crew members are. If you put the work in you will be rewarded.”
Is there any particular race other than the Indianapolis 500 that you are looking for to this year, and if so which one? And why?
“I love that INDYCAR has so many races in the Midwest since that is my home area. Road America, though, is at the top of my list after Indianapolis. It has a ton of history. The weather in Wisconsin in the summer is unreal. Most importantly is that it puts on some great racing and the fans love to come out and see us.”
You worked with Paretta Autosport in 2021, how did you get involved in the project?
“Honestly, that was really by chance. I was working on our NASCAR team at that time, in the fuel cell department. Paretta had a technical alliance with us, and that included forming a pit crew. I was approached in the shop and jumped at the chance to see if I could pit a car in the Indy 500. I made the team. We made history and that really propelled me to where I am today.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES employs a lot of women up and down pit road, why do you think the sport is so appealing to females?
“INDYCAR has really been at the forefront of diversity for a long time. Mr. Penske has remained committed to that since he bought the series, and I’m proud to be one of several women working on the Team Penske crew. When you look at Lynn St. James through to Danica (Patrick) and Simona (de Silvestro) to Cara Krstolic at Firestone, women have had a place in this series for a long time. I hope it will continue to grow.”
Finally, what advice would you give any young women who want to enter INDYCAR?
“Again, if you can do the job the car doesn’t know what gender you are. Believe in yourself above everything else and put in the work. Hard work doesn’t lie. Mr. Penske always says ‘effort equals results and I could not agree with him more.”