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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
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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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