Danica Patrick and the Indianapolis 500 Race Today!
Posted on May 27th, 2007 in Culture, In The News
Danica Patrick has been in the news now for a few years, but she has never won a professional motor-racing race. But as of this time, roughly 100 laps into the 200 lap Indianapolis 500, Danica is in third place and certainly has a chance to win (especially if rain comes soon).
Unlike some other female phenoms with sex appeal, like Anna Kournikova, Patrick seems focused and actively trying to win. But in the meantime, Danica has been able to parlay her long, dark hair and cute face into popular culture lore: including recently being named sexiest athlete in a “what is sexy” list compiled by the underwear retailer Victoria’s Secret.
No doubt eyes will be on her as she takes to the track at the Indy 500, the highlight of the US racing year. This tough woman from Cheeseheadland (aka: Wisconsin) has something to prove, having made a solid fourth-placed debut two years ago, although she had no impact in last year’s race.
The stars do appear in alignment: she has been driving well all season and started eighth at the track in Indianapolis. And that gives her a real chance at the grand prize. “I’m faster now,” Patrick says. “I’ve got teammates I can look to for answers and setups and fun.” (Her teammates, from Andretti Green Racing, include the legendary Mario Andretti and his sons Michael and Marco.) “So it’s a much, much better situation now. Much more comfortable. Much more support.”
Off the track, though, is a different matter. She has been accused of everything from enjoying an unfair advantage because of her slight frame and low body weight to using her feminine wiles to enjoy privileges denied to more talented male drivers. “I don’t think it’s a sport for women, and so far, it’s proved out,” former Nascar driver Richard Petty said last year. “It’s good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity; it gives them publicity. But as far as being a real true racer, making a living out of it, it’s kind of tough.”
Two years ago, driver Jenson Button dismissed her chances of making it in Formula One, saying:
“A girl with big boobs would never be comfortable in the car. And the mechanics wouldn’t concentrate. Can you imagine strapping her in?”
Patrick, to her credit, has shrugged them all off. She grew up go-karting, thanks to the enthusiasm of her father, a former short-track racer, then got packed off to England as a teenager to pursue her passion in the Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall circuits.
This year, Patrick is having the time of her life. She may not win in Indianapolis today but her friends and colleagues are confident that one way she will. “She’s right there,” Mario Andretti says of her. “She’s a force to be reckoned with.”
If you want more sensitive comments regarding Danica such as Button’s above, check out the SportsGoons.com piece written on Danica’s first Indy appearance in 2005.
Danica Patrick Images (click to enlarge in new window)