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Do Women Belong in Racing?

Danica Patrick has been given the title of “most successful female in American open-wheel racing.” I am currently rolling my eyes.

by
Becky Graebner

Bio

March 7, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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There is an age-old question that will probably plague human curiosity (and laboratories) until our race perishes: when it comes to X, are men or women more capable? There have been multitudes of studies on perception, reaction times, pain-thresholds, physical, mental, emotional capabilities, etc. on both sexes to determine who is better equipped to do certain activities. Research conclusions that sought to divide the sexes by suitability have been refuted as both men and women have defied science and stereotypes. Worlds that have been traditionally “male-dominated” or “female-dominated” have collided and our stereotypical thinking has been challenged and overturned.  Dangerous sports, such as racing, still seem to be firmly rooted in the “male-dominated” category, but women have slowly begun to infiltrate the paddock walls.

We oooh and ahh over females on the racetrack, but women in fast cars are not new. In fact, in the past few decades, several female racers have set records and taken top honors:

1.      Shirley Muldowney was a pioneer in drag racing and the first woman to obtain a license from the National Hot Rod Association.  She has a resume of accomplishments and awards that reads like a menu from Bubba Gump Shrimp. She was a real oil-burning lioness.

2.      Janet Guthrie was the first female to qualify and compete in both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 and to drive in a NASCAR Winston Cup superspeedway race. In 2006, she was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

3.      Lyn St. James started in the Indianapolis 500 seven times (Danica Patrick is currently tied with her record). She has two wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona and one at the 12 Hours of Sebring.  She also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice.

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Top Rated Comments   
Patrick has been in competing since 1995. Despite having top crews and cars to compete in her record is mediocre at best. Reminds me of Anna Kornikova, the sexy Russian tennis player who made major money from commercials and endorsements w/out winning a singles tournament.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (29)
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I am personally acquianted with a former Indy Car champion, NASCAR driver and Nationwide series driver who has competed against Ms. Patrick for over 10 years in all 3 series. In his opinion, and reputedly that of many other drivers, her skill level is mediocre at best when compared to the best in the sport. As the author pointed out Danica has exactly one win in those 3 series racing against other drivers. A man with her record would most certainly be relegated to one of the minor league series.

There are a good many top notch drivers who have multiple Sprint Cup and Nationwide wins to their credit who don't have a ride in the big show. Danica is a marketing ploy by NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing to boost flagging sponsorhip money and attendance. IMHO it is a move that sucks as drivers with better records who have paid their dues go w/o a ride while she gets all the attention and the best equipment and crews money can buy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
.Imagine the hype if Ms. Patrick ever actually WINS a NASCAR event
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Didn't the pole sitter and almost all of the others lose?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Patrick has been in competing since 1995. Despite having top crews and cars to compete in her record is mediocre at best. Reminds me of Anna Kornikova, the sexy Russian tennis player who made major money from commercials and endorsements w/out winning a singles tournament.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Because she is so much lighter (100 pounds) than the lightest men, she has been given a 50 pound minimum vehiclce + driver weight advantge, just like she was a filly in the Kentucky Derby.

Like Roger Maris, if she wins she'll always have an asterisk.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger Maris had no control over the length of the season.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As an Indycar fan, was really happy when Danica decided to leave for Nascar. Trust me, in a little while you will be hearing complaints about "all Danica, all the time" from fans getting fed up, I sure was at Indy. Afterall, they've already had some complaints about the "Danica 500" Daytona. Racing comes in second.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If being bad at a sport qualifies me to opine on who else would be bad I think I am qualified.

I attempted to drive once. Not real race cars show room stock. It was fun. I was terrible. To me racing a car is a wonderful blend of knowledge and instinct.

So without ever having been in a real nascar i have to suspect Danica is like the other 'real' drivers I raced against. only multiplied by 1000.

So, just the fact that she is there, and able to finish says something.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If Danica wasn't attractive we would never hear about her. Sex sells.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
She's attractive.. come on!

I saw the white bikini pic of her supposed 'sexiness' a few years back. Pock-marked face. Floppy chest, thunder thighs and snaggle-tooth toes.

Not to mention she throws temper tantrums which seems like ALL THE TIME when she doesn't finish a race..

The woman's grotesque.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
*yawn* ho-hum...

Any such discussion only prolongs the agony. Every person should be estimated by his abilities, period. I don't ever want to hear this dreary dialogue again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

I once had a discussion with a feminist about women's entrance into the workforce and I offered two shreds of what there is left of my wisdom.

The first was that I grew up in the Bronx of the '50s and '60s, in what some see as the depths of the patriarchal oppression, in a working/lower middle class neighborhood. My recollection is that probably more 50% of the women in our neighborhood had some sort of employment. My father had three sisters who never married; two were mangers for large corporations and the other was a registered nurse. So, that whole exclusion argument never held much water in my mind. If there was exclusion, it was more likely from certain jobs that certain women wanted rather than from the workforce in general.

The second aspect was what I referred to humorously as the "bimbofication" of work. As technologies developed and became available, more jobs fell within the primarily physical abilities of our womenfolk. Previously "male-dominated" jobs (and what a triumph that wording is. If it's mostly males who are the males "dominating"? But, gee, it sure does reinforce that oppression theme now doesn't it?) became more available to women due to the compulsive power of governments at all levels. Again my experience intrudes. I spent 30 year or so in the printing industry, and I can't remember but one female large press operator.

So, we now have a female race car driver of some skill whose career among other things is useful to perpetuate the oppressed female narrative that is so important to those like Nancy Pelosi, whom no one knows as the First Female ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress. But me, I sticking with that Bell Curve logic and in something like race car driving the men's curve will prove to be more successful than the women's. Except in advancing the narrative, that is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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