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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

The racing world is all abuzz because something seemingly amazing happened. Two weeks ago Danica Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500. Now, I do not mean to beat down Patrick’s accomplishment — she has had a tough road trying to pave her way through the racing world — but a woman taking the pole isn’t an event we need to chalk up to the racing gods as a miracle or something the media needs put on the front page. Why? First, reread the ground-breaking women listed above! Second, she’s done it before. Why then all the hullabaloo? This is exactly the problem and the point. Let’s pretend Danica Patrick was a male.

If Mr. Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500, would mainstream newspapers publish several articles exploring the “meaning” behind his qualifying time? No, probably not. The public wouldn’t care for more than 10 minutes, and subsequent articles would probably be a short blog on the top three qualifiers and the weather for race day. Nothing over-spectacular or exciting; after all, this is qualifying, not the actual race.

However, since we are talking about Patrick, a femaleracecar driver, qualifying times and other seemingly innocuous actions have taken on a new meaning. Patrick has gone down in the record books as being the first for X, Y, and Z, but it’s because she was the first female to do so — not necessarily because she was the first. Patrick entered racing like any other car enthusiast addicted to speed: she loved the thrill and she wanted to make driving her craft. She has just as much heart, talent, and courage to drive a four-wheeled missile at 200 mph as her male counterparts and I think she should be treated like the rest of the drivers. She is currently measured within the context of her gender, not wholly by her skills and her ability to win races.

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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
All Comments   (31)
All Comments   (31)
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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
I have an older brother who spent his entire adult life in motor sports as a driver, team owner, promoter and excecutive board member of two major sanctioning organizations. One sanctioning organization, the NHRA, has long promoted racing programs to kids of both genders. Their non waivering philosophy has been that their sport was family centric and blind to any gender discrimination. I think experience will validate that when a woman becomes interestd in driving or becoming a crew member and pays the price of becoming qualified, she is fully accepted by the sanctioning body and 'most' of the teams owners, drivers, crews and sponsors. Of course there will always be a few who go to their graves with quite a different philoosophy. I for one, have watched a few women become very competitive and have fun at many 'local' sanctioned tracks across the country for many years. I think its been their (the womens) own individual interest in being a 'driver' that has influenced their low numbers -- most are more than happy being the ultimate wife and mom supporter or general fan.
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
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