IndyCar tire engineer, Cara Adams, leads the way for successful women in the racing world

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MILWAUKEE -- She's a trailblazer who often doesn't realize it, and her work is on full display every time an IndyCar Series driver hits the track.

Providing the foundation for some of the world's best IndyCar drivers; a lot of work and science goes into designing the perfect racing tire. And the brains behind the Firestone operation is Bridgestone Americas Motorsports Chief Engineer, Cara Adams.

Cara Adams

"My job is the design and development of all the tires used in the Verizon IndyCar Series, including all the tires used here at Road America. We have a fantastic team of engineers and chemists that work to design these tires," said Adams.

It's a dream job -- that started with a love of science.

"My grandpa was a engineer for NASA, so I always loved science and math. I got involved in racing in college. There's a team that designs and builds a race car and I got to be a part of that. I learned how to use all the machine tools and got in the car and developed that love of racing," said Adams.

When Adams began her career back in 2008, she was the only female engineer, but a change in times has the industry trending in a different direction.

"Right now we have about 13 percent of graduates that are females in mechanical engineering. It's growing every day, so the more role models, the more you can see women in these roles, the more we can get young women involved, young girls involved -- so it's happening, maybe not as quick as we'd like, but it's happening," Adams said.

"It's fantastic and the thing is, women have been a part of the sport for a long time, but what's happening is what they're doing. The roles and the opportunities are there," said Bridgestone Motorsports Director Lisa Boggs.

While being a female in the racing engineering world doesn't usually phase Adams, she is aware of the impact she's making on those young girls who may already have an interest in a male-dominated field.

"Hey young gals and folks out there, you can do whatever you want. If you wanna be in racing or be an engineer, go for it. The opportunities are there, so we're enjoying it," said Boggs.

"First of all, I didn't know if I would be able to do that myself, so if I can do it, they can do it. Absolutely," said Adams.

"She has young gals ask for her autograph and I know for her, that's a big day. That's great when some young girl says, 'I want to be you. I've seen what you're doing and I want to be you,'" said Boggs.

Adams also added, a young college student approached her at the Milwaukee Mile a few years back with an interest in racing, and that student is now an engineer at Harley-Davidson.