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Female firefighters become trailblazers for Track Rescue

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — The world of IndyCar got an up-close look at the Indianapolis 500 Track Rescue teams Monday, when Stefan Wilson and Katherine Legge crashed in Turn 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But what fans might not realize is how many women respond to those wrecks.

“When I go out in public and I’m wearing anything that says track rescue on it, they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re husband’s a member of the track rescue team?’ And I’m like, ‘No I am!’” Amber Hull said.

120 firefighters make up the Track Rescue team for the Indianapolis 500. Only nine are women.

“I got into the fire service about 20 years ago. I wanted to add something new. I decided to go out to the race track and check that out. Fell in love with it, and the rest is history,” Hull said.

“They’re very surprised,” Dana Werle said. “I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Are you the lady that I saw on the track? I told my husband, I knew that was a woman.’ So it’s kind of neat that people recognize that.”

“It’s kind of like an addiction once you get into it,” Paula Cecil said. “The people are the draw. Cars are great, but the people are better.”

Racing history has been made at IMS for over a century. Just like all the legends who’ve kissed the bricks, the women of Track Rescue are making history themselves — and it’s about much more than the race.

“It’s been a struggle off and on, but I hold my weight, and people help you out, and like I said, they look after you and stuff,” Cecil said. “It came from a place where men don’t believe women belong in the firehouse. So it’s been a lot of ups and downs, but it all pays off in the end. It’s an everyday learning process. Always will be. I enjoy it. I’m not going to let anybody scare me out of it.”

Even after 107 runnings of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, you still don’t see many women working in this race. These ladies are hoping to change that.

“I would tell them, don’t let that hold you back just because you’re a female. You do what you set your mind to do, and you can do anything,” Werle said.

“We got girl power in here, so watch out!” Cecil said.