Lauren Sullivan

Note: This feature story is part of’s coverage of Women’s History Month in March.

Team Penske employee Lauren Sullivan is someone many NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans may not know. That could soon change.

Sullivan’s day-to-day duties with Team Penske involve behind-the-scenes roles of being its NTT INDYCAR SERIES engineering and logistics coordinator. She also has another title: Sullivan is believed to be the first female to serve as a spotter for an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race victory.

Late last week, a personal situation arose with Josef Newgarden’s planned spotter, and Sullivan was tasked by team management to pick up spotting duties for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding.

Sullivan masterfully guided Newgarden’s No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet to the organization’s 626th victory across all forms of motorsports, 237 of those in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

It’s a pioneering moment, occurring during Women’s History Month, for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Sullivan admits it took several hours after the checkered flag fell for her to realize she may have just made history.

“It's significant, but it is not significant,” she said. “Because I'm the first, it's significant. Because being the first almost actually went unmentioned, that’s significant in a good way because to me, that is a mark of progress of what a lot of these diversity and equality efforts have been doing over the last several years.”

Sullivan has seen those efforts firsthand. While she served as a wind tunnel test engineer for Team Penske’s NASCAR organization, an opportunity arose for her to work with the predominantly female Paretta Autosport entry in the 2021 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Team Penske provided technical support for Paretta.

Sullivan embraced the NTT INDYCAR SERIES machinery during the Month of May with Paretta and thought a move to Team Penske’s INDYCAR SERIES team could suit her abilities. She approached the organization about a change, and Penske officials provided her the opportunity with her current role, in which she’s thriving.

Outside of her engineering duties, Sullivan’s job inserts her as the pulse to Team Penske’s INDYCAR SERIES operation. She handles many of the logistics of the race team, organizing schedules and travel, working with suppliers and more, and then conveying that information to the team in a concise, easy-to-digest format.

Sulivan’s work ethic, attention to detail and a long-time fondness for being a spotter allowed her dream to spot to come true in last April’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. She credits the team’s values and equality for allowing it to occur.

“I wanted to do this,” she said. “I don't feel like I had any barriers, honestly, to becoming a spotter. In fact, I was embraced by all the guys out there. When I asked (Team) Penske if that was something I could learn to do, they were like, ‘Yeah, sure, why not?’ and gave me the opportunities to do it. So, it's probably why I didn't necessarily feel barrier-breaking, if you will, or wasn't on my radar just because things are extremely attainable now.”

She excelled in Long Beach and became Newgarden’s spotter for a few more road and street course events last season. While there, she noticed equality spills over to the spotters’ stand. She mentions Mike Ford, Ayla Agren, Charles Crews, Adam Fournier, Jon Bouslog, Harry Reynolds, Bob Perona, Bob Jeffries, Jason Reiner, Chris Wheeler, Bryce Dininger and Jefferson Hodges as individuals who have given her the confidence and encouragement and made the spotters’ stand a welcoming place to thrive.

Moving ahead, she wants to pay it forward. She’s reminded by a comment Beth Paretta, owner of Paretta Autosport, made during the Month of May in 2021 that resonates three years later. Paretta said she looks forward to the day where it’s not news that a female has done something in motorsports because it’s so common.

That stands out for how Sullivan recognizes potential history being made last Sunday because it didn’t register with her at first. She sees so many females now in the paddock, a number increasing by the year, that being the first female at something didn’t resonate.

“We’re taking steps in that direction of where it’s no longer news,” she said. “The momentum is there.”