Ready to Make History on Pit Lane

March 3, 2023

Aside from her ubiquitous blond ponytail hanging underneath her helmet, Caitlyn Brown blends in seamlessly with her male counterparts with hard work and selflessness as a member of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet crew for two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion, Josef Newgarden. Brown, a 24-year-old native of Wilmington, Illinois, is embarking on her second full season as a member of the Team Penske INDYCAR program, and this season will take on added significance for her and the team.

In 2023, Brown will make history as the first female over-the-wall pit crew member for Team Penske, in any of the series in which the team has raced. Her role on the No. 2 pit crew is inside front tire changer following her work last season as an extra crew member assigned to tear-offs for the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet driven by Josef Newgarden.

“I am extremely excited to have Caitlyn make the starting lineup for this season,” said Team Penske pit crew coach, Shaun Rinaman. “She has worked very hard, not only at practice, but she has continued to put the work in on her own as well to achieve this goal.  Her dedication has put her in the position that she is in, on one of the most successful teams in the series. She has earned this and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her at Team Penske.”

Brown comes from a racing family, herself having competed in four-cylinder dirt track racing in her youth. While she loved the competition that comes with being behind the wheel, the mechanics of making a car perform at its best proved to be Brown’s true calling. After paying her dues in entry-level positions that helped Brown get her foot in the door of professional motorsports, she began her Team Penske career in 2019 as a NASCAR shop mechanic. Brown then transitioned into the role of fuel cell specialist. Looking for an opportunity as a traveling mechanic with one of the Team Penske teams, Brown first ventured out on the road with the organization’s INDYCAR team during the 2021 season. Prior to the start of the 2022 INDYCAR SERIES season, she made the transition from fenders to open wheel cars complete.

It was during the 2021 season that Brown seized her first opportunity to go over the wall with the Paretta Autosport female-led INDYCAR team in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. The Paretta team received technical support from Team Penske, and the partnership allowed Brown and others to show what they could do on pit lane in the world’s biggest race.

“My experience with Paretta Autosport allowed me to get an introduction to INDYCAR and open my eyes to the opportunities I had within Team Penske to do other things,” said Brown. “I’m thankful that under the Penske umbrella everyone worked together to let me have that opportunity.”

The chance to become the first female pit crew member for the winningest race team in history is something that Brown is ready for, and she hopes to inspire future Caitlyn Browns to pursue their dreams in motorsports.

“It’s always special to be able to say, ‘I was the first,’” continued Brown. “To be able to say I was first for something at Team Penske is an in incredible honor. I’ve worked hard to get to be where I am today but I couldn’t have done without all the guys at the shop who have pushed me, supported me, and showed me the way!”

Will there be pressure going over the wall to service the car driven by Newgarden, a perennial INDYCAR championship contender? Brown is sure there will be plenty of that along the way, but under pressure is where she thrives.

“There will be some pressure this year for sure, which is good because that means there are expectations for myself and the team to achieve,” said Brown. “We say that effort equals results and if you look here (at Team Penske) you see just how much effort we put forth together to get those results. I think the pressure to win and be the best drives each of us every day.”