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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Danica makes my gender proud!

English: Andretti Autosport's Danica Patrick a...
Image via Wikipedia
Danica Patrick's debut in the Nationwide Series race wasn't quite what she had hoped for, no thanks to her own teammate Cole Whitt, the 20-year old California kid that probably spent a sleepless night last night contemplating his future. I doubt this one incident will derail his career, but his actions on the track did end a perfectly good run for Patrick.

She isn't the first driver to get caught up in a Daytona incident. She won't be the last either. The best of the best often suffer the same fate.

Listening to Patrick's radio and watching Twitter comments was pretty telling. It seems there is a contingent that loves her as well as one that hates her. Personally, I think the latter is rooted in either jealousy or ignorance.

Her reaction after she was hit was raw and honest. It was real.

I'm not a "feminist," but as a woman, I know that sometimes, we have to work a little harder than our male counterparts to achieve equality. It isn't fun; it isn't fair; but that is the way it is. Danica has been in the racing world long enough to know how to handle herself.

I'm going to enjoy watching this gender dynamic unfold in the sport this year. It will be very exciting to watch. NASCAR can only benefit by the presence of a strong woman.

Patrick has attitude. I like that. There is no question she is capable. For a woman to step into a race car is proof. Her qualifying on the pole underscored it. I suspect we will see more of her achievements.

I liked what I heard on the radio, Patrick behaved much like a good student, asking the kinds of questions that could only help her understand and deal with situations. She wanted things spelled out for her ahead of time, so she could evaluate and anticipate how she might react as new scenarios arise. She was methodical, analytical, as she tried to take her driving to the next level. She and her crew maintained almost constant radio contact. It is a shame she couldn't complete her task. I would have loved to see how she would have finished.

From what I've seen so far, I think Danica is going to hold her own just fine in this sport dominated by men, both in the garage and in the stands. While there will always be those guys whose brains hold them back from seeing beyond her pretty face, I think for the majority, she will have their respect one day, because she will have to work hard to earn it.