By: Tanner Watkins
May 25, 2019 | 1:00 PM
Sunday’s 103rd Indianapolis 500 will be the 20th consecutive year that a female racer has competed in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. For Clauson-Marshall Racing driver Pippa Mann, this will be the seventh time the veteran open-wheeler has spent her Memorial Day weekend racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Mann and her Driven2SaveLives team have had a quiet, albeit productive, month of May to this point. The British driver was safely in the 15 to 20 position on the no-tow leaderboards throughout the practices preceding qualifications, and it took only one run for the No. 32 Chevrolet to qualify for this weekend’s main event.
While the path to Sunday’s race hasn’t been impeccable, the relatively smooth start to practice and qualifications has been a strong point for this Clauson-Marshall team making their debut at the Indianapolis 500.
“Overall, I think we have quietly had a really, really good month with the Clauson-Marshall Racing Driven2SaveLives Chevrolet,” said Mann at media day this week.
“When you pull up the no-tow speeds from every single day, we were in the middle or slightly better off – including all the way through Fast Friday when everybody else was trying to trim out and go fast too.”
Despite speaking into the top 30 as the final driver to lock themselves in on Saturday qualifications, Mann notes that the team’s lone run came during some of the most difficult conditions that day.
“When you look at speed from our qualifying run on Saturday – when the track was hot, and windy, and gusty – that was a very solid, respectable speed at the time that we did it.”
With Mann and her team safely in the field – after missing the race last year in partnership with Dale Coyne Racing – the 35-year-old will look to improve on her best finish of 17th at the Indianapolis 500. That result came in 2017, the last time she participated in the race.
Still trying to stay grounded and realistic, Mann is aiming for a top-15 finish – though you know that she wants more, and thinks they can achieve that.
“We would love to go out there and have a mistake-free race day,” said Mann. “We would love for the car to run the way it has been running all month and continue in that vein.
“I think if we can do both of those two things – now both are very hard (to do) here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, especially for a one-off team – but if we can achieve that, I think that is a top-15 (result) on the table.”
When the green flag flies on Sunday, Mann will line up on the outside of Row 10 with sophomore driver Zach Veach and rookie Felix Rosenqvist on the inside of her. The 103rd Indianapolis 500 will go on the air this Sunday at 11:00 AM ET on NBC.
Header image by Chris Jones/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.