Female Drivers Begin Three-Day Menards Infiniti Pro Series Test
FT. WORTH, Texas, Monday, Nov. 8, 2004 -- Four female drivers turned 60 laps each in an Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series race car at Texas Motor Speedway, as Nunn Motorsports began a three-day test of six top female drivers.
The team hopes to offer one of the drivers a full-time ride in 2005.
Sondi Eden, a 27-year-old USAC Regional Midget champion from Crawfordsville, Ind., was the first driver on track.
"It was exciting." Eden said. "To have the opportunity to be able to test one of these cars is a lot of fun. I was a little nervous going into it, so I just started out slow to build up my confidence. I just progressed slowly, took my time and got comfortable in it, got up to speed and started hitting the rev limiter so I felt good about that. It was real smooth. It's just a lot of fun."
Becca Anderson, Rossella Manfrinato and Wendy Mathis also tested on Nov. 8. Juliana Chiovitti and Sarah McCune will test on the morning of Nov. 9 before all six drivers each have a second session in the car.
Kathryn Nunn, the only woman to own a team in the IRL, was pleased with the results of the first day.
"I expected them to do well," Nunn said. "They all had excellent credentials. Today's exercise was designed to give them all a lot of seat time and let them get comfortable in the car, on the track and with the crew. They'll have another opportunity to get in the car and pick up even more speed."
Anderson, 25, began racing at the age of 13 and has 13 career feature wins as a sprint-car driver. The Lincoln, Del., native competes in the United Racing Club (URC) series.
Chiovitti, originally from Sutton, Ontario but now living in Las Vegas, is a three-time World Karting Association (WKA) Grand National Champion and has won a WKA national championship. She is 23.
Eden, 27, is a former North American Midget Auto Racing Series (NAMARS) Rookie of the Year.
Manfrinato, 35, has competed in SCCA and Formula Continental events. The Milan, Italy native was the technical support and liaison engineer for chassis manufacturer Dallara in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series from 2002-2004.
Mathis, 25, began racing at the age of 12. She has driven midgets and sprint cars and is the first woman to win a sprint car feature in the Tampa Bay Area Racing Association. Mathis lives in Brandon, Fla.
McCune, 26, has competed in USAC National Midget events for the past several years. The Perrysburg, Ohio native tested an IRL IndyCar® Series car twice in 2000.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series was formed in 2002 as the development series for the IRL IndyCar Series. Past champions A.J. Foyt IV (2002) and Mark Taylor (2003), as well as driver Ed Carpenter, have earned full-time rides in the IndyCar Series.
Nunn Motorsports joined the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in July and won four of the final six races with brothers James and P.J. Chesson.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series 2005 season will begin March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series season will begin with the Toyota Indy 300 March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.