Scott Dixon won his fifth IndyCar championship on Sunday, as did his race engineer Chris Simmons. The most exciting news, however, might be with the newest members to the club.
Sitting next to Simmons, Kate Gundlach (pictured above), assistant engineer on the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, and Danielle Shepherd (below), data engineer on Dixon’s car, made history at Sonoma Raceway as the first women to earn IndyCar championships from the engineering stand.
And as relentless advocates for the inclusion of female talent in motor racing, the two new championship winners reinforced the quality and talent offered by women in the sport.
“It’s the first championship that I’ve won in the IndyCar Series, and you feel like you did your job,” Gundlach told RACER. “It’s really satisfying. We have the best people in the paddock, for sure. It’s an honor to work with them. It’s hard to quantify this moment. You tend to end the season feeling like something’s missing. And now there isn’t.”
Gundlach is preparing to speak to 100 high school students at an event put on by the Heritage Center in Indianapolis. And as a supporter of the new Fuel The Female organization created by NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt, she knows being part of Dixon’s fifth championship can only inspire other women to follow in her footsteps.
“It feels great to represent that,” she added. “And Danielle’s fantastic as well and plays a huge part in all we do as well. It feels pretty special to have two women in the technical field here who’ve become IndyCar champions.”