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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


Patrick has been given the title of “most successful female in American open-wheel racing.” I am currently rolling my eyes—not because I think Patrick is not successful, but because this title belongs to someone who has won one race: the 2008 Japan Indy 300.  One race.  I think she, and other female drivers, can do better than one win in order to have the title of “most successful female.”  Male drivers who win one race are not given titles — they don’t receive a ribbon for participation. Of course Patrick can win a race. She has two hands, two feet, and the will to do so—just like her male competitors.  Congratulations on your race, Danica Patrick.  Now go out, go give ‘em hell, and do it again!

In addition to “most successful woman in American open-wheel,” Patrick also holds the record for “most consecutive finishes in IndyCar.” Again, I don’t mean to diminish this accomplishment, because she is currently beating the boys, but let’s break this down. She holds this title because out of the 115 races she started, she finished 50 of them in a row. This statistic means that she started in a race and managed to budget her tires, not crash, not get disqualified, and survive the g-forces in order to cross the finish line after a certain amount of laps, 50 times in a row. Honestly, my gut reaction is so say, “So what?” Yes, it takes both mental and physical strength, as well as sheer talent, to operate a racecar; but the fact that Patrick finished 50 races in a row, and won one, doesn’t mean she’s the epitome of success. If her statistics for “race wins” were compared with a male driver with similar figures, the male driver would be considered mediocre. One of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, Michael Schumacher, had 307 starts in his career–with 221 finishes in the points, 24 consecutive finishes in the points, and 68 poles. Oh, he also had 91 wins.

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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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