Race car driver Danica Patrick is grabbing most of the headlines heading into the Indianapolis 500, but she isn’t the only woman making waves at Indy. Jefferson City, Missouri native Mishael Abbott finished 11th at the Futaba Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday afternoon.

Before the race, Abbott expressed her desire to finish in the top five of her first Infiniti Pro Series event. While her finish didn’t live up to those expectations, she said the race was a learning experience.

“I was hoping for better,” Abbott said, “but I learned a lot in the car today and that’s kind of my goal right now.”

The finish made her just the fifth woman to complete a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and she’s also the first woman to compete in an Infiniti Pro Series race, which serves as a feeder series to IRL’s IndyCar Series.

“Talking about it just gave me goose bumps,” Abbott said. “To say that I’m one of five now that has actually completed a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is pretty amazing.”

Abbot was born in Jefferson City and lived there until her family moved when she was six years old. One of her older sisters still lives in Jefferson City and Abbott said she visits the area quite often.

In 1993, Abbott’s family settled in Florida, where they have lived ever since.

When she’s not racing, Abbott is working on a degree in education at Florida Atlantic University, though she hopes degree will serve as a “backup to my racing program”.

As far as racing is concerned, Abbott’s goal in 2005 is to raise money and race as many times as she can. Next year she’d like to race full time on the Infiniti Pro Series and make the IRL IndyCar Series by 2007.

If that happens, she can expect more comparisons to other female drivers.Won’t she get tired of having all of her accomplishments acommpanied by how many other women have—or haven’t—done it before?

“I like to be thought of as a driver, but you have to also take into account all these milestones,” Abbott said. “That’s part of being a race car driver that’s a female and so you have to accept that.”

While many will may pay a lot of attention to her gender, Abbott knows her fellow drivers don’t think of her as a female driver.

“They just accept me as another competitor.”