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Indy 500: Mann, Howard left on the sidelines

Two British drivers you won't be seeing in this year's Indianapolis 500 race are Pippa Mann and Jay Howard, and both are having to find new ways forward to get back into the series.
Two years ago, a young British driver by the name of Pippa Mann was on pole position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100, the curtain-raiser event to the start of the Indy 500 race weekend.

The year after that in 2011, she was on the grid at IMS again - but this time for the start of the centennial running of the greatest spectacle in motor racing itself, lining up in a Conquest Racing car and going on to finish in 20th place.

So impressed were IZOD IndyCar team bosses with both her driving and her social media marketing skills, Mann landed a three-race deal in late-season oval events with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The future looked bright indeed.

But in 2012, it's back to square one for the 28-year-old, London-born racer, and she finds herself on the sidelines at Indianapolis watching on while others get a chance to compete in the 96th running of the Indy 500 - but she does not.

“Sometimes these things are beyond our control,” said Mann. “When you know that you've done everything you can to achieve something, and it still doesn't happen, it's frustrating and of course massively disappointing.

"But I did all I could and to that end, I have no regrets," she insisted. "Ultimately my only option now is to pick up, dust off, and get back out there!”

Another British driver, 31-year-old Jay Howard originally from Basildon in Essex, is in a similar position. He has two top five finishes in the Freedom 100 and made the grid for the Indy 500 for the first time in 2011 with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, but - despite seeming set for a second outing this year with new team MSR Indy - he too finds himself on the outside looking in in 2012.

"I'm gutted I won't be competing in the race this year," said Howard. "Qualifying for my first Indy last year was definitely a dream come true for me, and I'll never take for granted the opportunity at attempting to qualify at this special place."

Even once the MSR Indy deal fell apart when it was clear Michael Shank's fledgling IndyCar team wasn't getting an engine supplier in time, Howard hasn't been far away from the on-track action.




Related Pictures

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Pippa Mann with her Rahal Letterman Lanigan team boss Bobby Rahal at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Pippa Mann in the cockpit of the #30 Rahal Letterman Racing car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Jay Howard and Bertrand Baguette sitting in the pit lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
British driver Jay Howard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) at the 2011 Indianapolis 500 during May. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
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Ricky - Unregistered

May 22, 2012 11:17 PM

@John - The reason the field is smaller than normal this year is due to the lack of engines. Honda and Chevrolet are pushed to the max on numbers. If Lotus would have been competitive, and produced some quantity we would have seen a real Bump Day as usual. Look for things to change next year with a bigger engine supply. Unfortunate that Howard and Pippa are without rides, but that's racing.



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