At Least One More Shot

Yesterday, we learned that British driver Katherine Legge has been named to drive the No. 44 Hendrickson Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) in this year’s Indianapolis 500. According to the press release, Hendrickson is “a leading global manufacturer of suspension systems and components in the commercial transportation industry”.

I see this as very much of a positive. It brings a very experienced and well-known driver to the Month of May. Currently, Legge is a fulltime driver in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. I am hopeful that it is not too much of an undertaking for RLLR, a team that struggled to expand to three fulltime cars last year, to add a fourth car for the Indianapolis 500. (Photos:



I’ve always tried to ignore the female driver aspect when it comes to IndyCar drivers. I don’t like it when female drivers are compared against each other, almost as a subset. To me, they are just drivers. I think that all drivers should be compared against each other. This is not sports car racing, where female drivers are racing in a class with themselves. Those that know me know that I am certainly not a social justice warrior; but I think we have come far enough as a society and a sport, that comparing Legge to other female drivers is insulting to her – with as much experience as she has.

Katherine Legge got my attention and earned my respect as a driver after she endured a very frightening Champ Car crash at Road America in 2006, and she seemed relatively unfazed. The rear wing failed as she was trying to navigate The Kink, one of the fastest parts of the track. She was just a passenger at that point as the car snapped, hit the wall and flipped violently as it pretty much disintegrated.. Just minutes later, she stepped out of the care center and gave an interview for TV, acknowledging she was a bit shaken but laughing it off for the most part. When I saw her interview after that horrifying crash, I thought to myself “Now, there’s a true racer”.

Legge was not quite as fortunate in July of 2020, when she was injured in a sports car testing crash at the Paul Ricard circuit. She broke her wrist and leg in the crash and endured a fairly lengthy rehab. As usual, she was back in the race car as soon as possible.

This will be the third Indianapolis 500 attempt for the 42 year-old Katherine Legge. She drove a Chevy in 2012, the first year for the DW12 chassis, for Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing. She started thirtieth and finished twenty-second. In 2013, in her only other 500 start, Legge started thirty-third and finished twenty-sixth in a third Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Katherine Legge was one of those drivers that was never at the right place at the right time. In IndyCar, I always felt like she was generally a better driver than the equipment she was in. In my mind, she joins the list of those drivers we always wonder how they would do in a top ride. I’m not sure the fourth car at Rahal in a one-off qualifies as the best situation, but she’s got her foot in the door. She has secured a ride in the Indianapolis 500 in early February – more than three months ahead of the game, and she is with the team that won the 500 just three years ago.

I am glad to see a versatile and accomplished driver such as Katherine Legge get at least one more shot at the Indianapolis 500 before she hangs up her helmet for good. Personally, I wish her well this May.

George Phillips

7 Responses to “At Least One More Shot”

  1. I recall other Rahal one offs that struggled to make to make the race, like Michel Jourdain. This is the best team she’s been with, but I agree with you that it may be a struggle.

    • billytheskink Says:

      This will (presumably) be the first time Legge will ever get to have a full week of practice at Indy. Her first attempt gave her only limited practice as Dragon Racing spent half the week finagling an engine out of Chevrolet and her second attempt saw her take her first laps on bump day morning!

      Rahal’s one-off/part-time entry track record since the Jourdain fiasco in 2013 has been competent, though I can see why the team’s struggles with 3 full time cars last year would make folks wary of expecting a 4th car to be racy.

      2014 – Servia, started 18, finished 11
      2015 – Servia, started 13, finished 29
      2016 – Pigot, started 29, finished 25
      2017 – Servia, started 12, finished 21
      2018 – none
      2019 – King, started 26, finished 24
      2020 – none
      2021 – Ferrucci, started 23, finished 6
      2022 – none

  2. I thought she would be dead when watching that crash. Amazingly brave. Wish her well but don’t expect much.

  3. Unbelievable! Somehow I missed when that happened. Nothing was left of that car! She was very fortunate. And its really shows how well designed these modern Indy Cars are. And the more cars at Indy for Qualifications the better!

  4. This is great news! I hope she makes the race and does well. When she drove for SPM in 2013 she started 33rd. She moved up to about 20th very early on in the race before she had problems. Her moving up was not due to attrition as she was passing car after car. Best wishes to Katherine this May!.

  5. good news that I read yesterday
    Good writing, George. I thank you for all the off-season blogging.

  6. Until we get good equipment for a female racer again, we’ll never know what the true potential is. Danica Patrick proved that she could truly be competitive given fairly equal equipment. We’ll never know if a female Mario or AJ is out there waiting for that good ride! Many Male racers have the same problem, but not to the same extent.

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