NASCAR Danica-Style

Posted: December 8, 2009 in NASCAR
Tags: , , , , ,

After the big Danica Patrick announcement today I just wanted to post some of my thoughts on her decision to run a few Nationwide and ARCA races in the 2010 season.

First some random thoughts:

1) Kudos to Dale Jr. for making the decision to be bought out of his own race team. This may have been the smartest move he has made on or off the track this season. He’ll also be able to separate himself when/if Danica doesn’t become the NASCAR superstar that all of this hype is making her out to be.

2) THANK YOU DANICA! Finally this is she or isn’t she discussion is over. She’s here for better or for worse. Now let’s move on please.

3) I hope Kyle Busch has found a good supplier for big boy pants because there is now a woman in NASCAR who could give him a run for the diva crown. Danica may be able to actually outdo KyBu in the fit show category…can’t wait to see that competition.

4) How will she do? My best guess is that she will last one year and run back to Indy Cars. She’ll be at best average. Sorry to say it people but her one win at that race in Japan isn’t enough to say that she will be able to compete on the stock car circuit. Now there is also the fact of equipment. Look at Juan Pablo Montoya this year he was a Cup competitor thanks to the DEI/Ganassi merger providing him with better equipment. For Danica, she will be in the best equipment possible in the Nationwide series, Hendrick power via JR Motorsports. She better watch out though because she could end up in the same storm that Dale Jr. is in at the moment. Being in the best equipment, yet not going anywhere. Sorry Jr. fans but you have all heard it and it’s not going to go away until he shows what he can do on the track.

5) I did learn one thing today in the midst of “Danicamania.” That NASCAR seems to allow these open wheelers most notably, Danica and Juan Pablo Montoya, to race on the Nationwide and Truck series tracks without having to earn their license. Now I understand why this would be the case for former Indy Car champion, JPM, but Danica has only won one race and though she has had some good runs her statistics are not nearly as impressive as JPM’s. Though I understand that NASCAR wants diversity and drivers from all racing backgrounds, but I don’t think giving certain open wheelers a pass to get into NASCAR is the best practice even for former champions.

Now I try to keep my posts from sounding too much like a rant, but today I just can’t do that.

Here’s my burnout:

I’m a woman and I have been around racing since I was born. I have watched numerous races at all levels from amateur to professional. So you would probably expect me to be really happy that Danica is making her start in NASCAR as a way to represent female drivers. I’m not going to sugar coat this….you’re WRONG!

In all of the races that I have watched, when female drivers are involved in a race they inevitably cause something to happen, most commonly an accident. If my own experience isn’t enough just think about a couple of things. First women are not as strong as men. If someone like Carl Edwards has a hard time wheeling a car that is not driving well or has lost power steering do you really think that a woman would be able to do it? I don’t. The second point is that a woman’s depth perception and spatial reasoning are not as good as a man’s. I will say that racing can improve these skills, but there is a point where no amount of training can overcome a genetic difference.

If none of this is enough for you, please go to your closest track that has a women’s racing division, watch what happens, and then tell me what you think of females racing stock cars.

Now I’m going to say what you are thinking. I just don’t like Danica. The part about her that really gets to me is her commercialized stripper image. Let’s face it she gets more coverage from her commercials than she could ever wish to get from any respected racing magazine.

I get it Danica you’re a woman, but if you want to be taken seriously stop wearing skin tight leather that’s half unzipped. If you think you can flash Jimmie Johnson to distract him while driving 200 mph, I wish you luck. Yes, this gets you fans and sponsors but you’re just a piece of skin. Also, congrats on your Indy Car performance that can only be placed as average and in some cases sub-par. Your racing “ability” thus far isn’t really a strong selling point nor will it make you a great stock car driver.

Maybe she’ll prove me wrong but I’m thinking this is a one and done kind of thing for Danica. She’ll get mad that she can’t run well and that stock car drivers are putting her in her place. She’ll throw her hallmark hissy fit and run back to Indy permanently…or only one can hope.

Danica is a waste of NASCAR’s time, but it does further support NASCAR’s move from performance to marketability with its drivers. Let’s hope this sport smartens up soon.

As for women in the sport, do I think there are some women out there that can race stock cars? I certainly hope so, but I hope they don’t view Danica as an idol and decide that they need to lay on the hood of their stock car in skin tight leather to sell themselves….I’m sorry I mean promote their talents.

The opinions in this post are solely that of the author.

  1. freakyfast says:

    I agree that Danica’s merits as a race car driver should be based on her success or lack there of on the race track. Danica does have a win in Indy racing and you can’t take anything away from her for that. That is a great accomplishment but that was a while ago. Admittedly I don’t keep up on the IRL but I haven’t heard of her doing anything worthy of mention lately. It is interesting to watch all of the hoopla that surrounds Danica but it gets old. If everyone will just show some patience we’ll all find out in time if she has what it takes. From the few times I’ve seen her compete and some of her antics that have made the highlights I am suspicious of her ability to handle the close quarter racing that takes place in stock car racing. Like I said time will tell.
    I could see all the attention that she gets for things not pertaining to racing could end up causing her problems. She is swooned over the fact the she is a woman infiltrating a “man’s world”. She is an attractive lady and receives a lot of attention for that. It seems to me that all of the adulation would be very distracting to the job at hand, which is driving a race car if I’m not mistaken.
    There are drivers out there who get no attention for anything other than their racing accomplishments. If they are wanting their ego stroked, as we all do from time to time, they must flat out perform in that race car because they’re not getting anywhere any other way.
    I think it possible that Dale Jr. has experienced this same problem and is having to step up and force himself to ignore the other distractions that surround him because of his father’s fame.
    I do believe that it is possible for a woman to rise to the top in the world of stock car racing. I agree with your points about spacial reasoning and physical strength. Women do not seem to be as spatially aware as men but that does not mean that every woman does not posses these abilities. Any character trait that could be thought of may or may not be generally attributed to women as a strength or weakness but individually a lady could be the exception to any of these generalities. It is the blend of these strengths and weaknesses that cause all of the varying abilities in people’s competence for any given endeavor.
    I do agree that lady’s typical strengths do not generally lend themselves to racing but I do see the possibility for a lady to have the proper “blend” of strengths to make her very good. Again she will have to overcome the previously mentioned distractions that will arise from the very fact that this individual is a woman.

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