Team Penske Engineer Sullivan Fueling Drive for More Women

Observe: INDYCAR.com is celebrating Women’s Background Month with a sequence of written content in the course of March.

Two photos of Crew Penske’s productive sports car system are displayed in Lauren Sullivan’s business at the team’s headquarters in North Carolina. What she requires is an picture from participation in Paretta Autosport’s Indianapolis 500 introduced by Gainbridge system last 12 months.

Sullivan is the daughter of a Super Late Model staff owner and is a former Boeing engineer. She has labored for Roger Penske’s NASCAR and NTT INDYCAR Collection systems given that 2015, suffering from results at the maximum level of motorsports. But what she professional very last year with Beth Paretta’s woman-driven “500” workforce at Indianapolis Motor Speedway stands as the most impactful minute of her profession.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be equipped to grasp what I was a section of because the movement proceeds to increase,” she reported. “We’re nonetheless looking at the fruits of final May well.”

Sullivan has usually linked with and been heartened by a women’s movement in sports, but she didn’t really feel like an lively member of it right up until Group Penske President Tim Cindric invited her to join the Paretta hard work. Sullivan served as a functionality engineer on Simona De Silvestro’s car, which gained the 33rd starting up situation for the 105th Working.

Whilst the No. 16 Chevrolet obtained a significant amount of mainstream notice, the crew users were stunned by the social media support, specifically centered on the facet braid hairstyle a lot of of them were being using.

“It caught on on the web right absent, and just before we understood it, we ended up getting tweets and tags about people’s daughters doing it, as very well,” she claimed. “I imagine we all considered that may possibly occur right after three or 4 many years we by no means imagined it would catch on in the very first week.”

Final month, when the NTT INDYCAR Sequence opened its season in St. Petersburg, Florida, Sullivan attended the race’s official enthusiast collecting at a downtown park. There, she built eye speak to with an initially shy seventh-quality woman, which led to a prolonged discussion about the sport.

“She was only 13 and definitely anxious at to start with, but she requested a whole lot of excellent issues about effectiveness (of race cars) as effectively as about the path of my profession,” Sullivan stated. “I acquired an e mail this week from her with more queries. That reminded me of the good that arrives out of this sport.

“I’m telling you, it was the spotlight of my working day.”

Sullivan has used her ordeals to become a vocal advocate for the women’s motion in motorsports, and she supports any individual in any placement with any staff in any sanctioning physique in any discipline for the reason that she’s been exactly where so a lot of women are in their pursuit.

Sullivan was elevated in the Los Angeles suburb of Walnut, in a household of motorsports admirers. Her father’s group raced at Irwindale Speedway, and she joined him in the pits from the instant she was aged sufficient to enter them. And nevertheless, as she pursued a degree in aerospace engineering at Saint Louis College and participated in the school’s Components SAE application, she never imagined a route to hook up her profession with her passion.

“You would have considered me, with a racing background, would have found that, but the profession fairs I went to in no way had just about anything about racing,” lifelong NASCAR fan Sullivan mentioned. “For aerospace engineering, it was constantly about Boeing and Lockheed (Martin).”

It took 5 a long time doing work with aircraft at Boeing’s St. Louis facility for her to comprehend there may well be a way to perform with cars. Repeated encouragement from the man who would turn into her husband – Sean Sullivan, an engineer who at the time labored in the INDYCAR Sequence with Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport – to inquire about wind tunnel positions in Charlotte, where by so numerous NASCAR teams are based. That led to sending out resumes.

Two corporations responded, coincidently equally owned by Roger Penske. She rose to foremost Workforce Penske’s NASCAR wind tunnel energy.

Shockingly, Sullivan’s operate with Paretta Autosport was her first introduction to the NTT INDYCAR Collection, and she identified the enormous total of facts produced in the sport “incredibly fascinating.” Soon after previous May possibly, she requested reassignment from stock vehicles to Indy autos, which was authorized.

It looks Sullivan is positioned where she feels most led — a possibility to get the job done in race vehicle engineering and lead other women of all ages to the sport she enjoys. She is a shining example for Women’s Record Thirty day period.

“It was two large momentums coming with each other,” she explained of doing work with Paretta Autosport. “I would have been these types of a supporter of what Beth was doing and supporting that workforce if I was hardly ever a portion of it, but to come to be 1 of the voices she was projecting is something I can’t explain. It has lit an intentional fire inside me.

“It has grow to be my individual mission in just my occupation to convey far more women of all ages into the sport, irrespective of whether it is with Paretta or Penske or where ever, and it’s pretty humbling to see a passion of mine on screen and to try to remember that I’m portion of it. It is unreal, and I choose the leadership of it pretty significantly.”

As for the photograph that captures Sullivan’s heart, she took it previous year at IMS. Numerous of the gals on the Paretta Autosport crew were collected in the team’s Gasoline Alley garage reading a tale in The Indianapolis Star. Sullivan was standing at the rear of them when she shot it.

“They were being studying about by themselves currently being in the Indianapolis 500,” she said. “It was ideal.”

Sullivan serves as the engineering and team logistics coordinator for Team Penske’s NTT INDYCAR Series application which fields cars for Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin. She will be at Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s XPEL 375, the second race of the time.