Danica is for real. Be patient

United States
February 22, 2010 11:40am CST
My name is Gary Long. For more than 35 years I wrote about sports for The Miami Herald. Auto racing was a primary beat. I saw every Daytona 500 and Pepsi 400 from 1970 through 2003 plus numerous races from Indianapolis, Homestead, Talladega, Darlington, Atlanta and Charlotte. I'm semi-retired now and exploring this blogging business even though I'm a technical dinosaur. (I've never owned a cell phone.) Perspective is needed on a hot topic: The demands on Danica Patrick that grow from outsized expectations are off the scale. I keep hearing talking heads on ESPN and elsewhere -- most of whom have neither attended an auto race or have any desire to do so -- commenting that Patrick has won only once in major league open-wheel racing (the IRL). Hey, she DID WIN. It's not like a journeyman baseball pitcher who got the best of Johan Santana on a day when Santana was at less than his best. For Danica to win, extending this analogy, she has to beat Santana, Roy Halladay, C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett and every other top-of-the-line pitcher on the same day. In other words, if recent IRL champions Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti happen to have a difficult race, Danica still has to get to the checkered flag ahead of Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Marco Andretti, Justin Wilson, Graham Rahal and all the rest on that day. That's a tall order for any of the above. Is she the best of those drivers. Of course not. But she can compete with the best. And she has no fear. Of more interest at the moment, she's clearly feeling her way while confronting the challenge of a much different venue, stock car racing. She's overmatched for the time being. That's inarguable. But she has demonstrated the wisdom to refrain from trying to do more than she currently can at the wheel. It's a lap-at-a-time process for her, and less relevant there where she finished in the NASCAR Nationwide race at California is the fact she was around to see the checkered flag. Clearly, she was far more comfortable at the end than at the start. Give her time. Incidentally, if you question whether she's strong enought to handle a 3,500-pound stock car (manhandle, if you prefer), shake hands with her one time.
2 people like this
5 responses
@spalladino (17924)
• United States
23 Feb 10
Welcome to mylot Gary! I'm in Florida, too, and a bigtime NASCAR fan. I was glad to see Danica given the opportunity to drive in the Nationwide series and I think she's off to a good start. A good driver know his/her limitations...and that of the car...so being there at the end of the race is probably more important than where you are at the end of the race.
• United States
23 Feb 10
Thanks for the feedback and welcome. About being there at the end, we agree. I'm sure as fans we also agree that that's true only for the time being. Incidentally, I'd be very interested on your evaluation of myLot and whether it truly can evolve into a source of income. Thanks!
@spalladino (17924)
• United States
24 Feb 10
Sorry for the delayed response...By participating in the discussions here and completing tasks it is possible to earn more than a few bucks monthly here but you're not going to make a killing unless you invest a lot of time and effort. Not saying that it's not possible. I've been here for over a year but I don't work the site like I could if I had more time on my hands. It's hit or miss for me. I do like it here. There are a lot of interesting discussions and, since I do more responding that creating, I appreciate that.
@coolcoder (2020)
• United States
22 Feb 10
I'm sorry, but I don't see Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Rusty Wallace posing with no clothes on to get attention. I can't respect Danica, I really can't. She's a horrid role model, and if I had little girls, you'd better believe I'd steer them clear of her (no pun intended).
• United States
23 Feb 10
Hey, if you have seen her without clothes on, you're one up on me. I've seen nothing beyond what would be visible if she were wearing a bathing suit. Part of that female-appeal approach does make me cringe a bit because it does allow the suggestion she's getting by on looks. Aside from the novelty, however, the lady has talent and grit at the wheel.
@KrauseHome (35514)
• United States
26 Feb 10
Personally I am quite Happy that Danica is choosing to give it a go with Nascar along with her other racing skills, and think in time she is going to do OK. Look at what she has done so far, and she has proven many times she is a competitor and in time I can see her winning a couple of races. I just think she is New to all of this and give her time to get used to the feel of the track, and racing against some of the Best and she will prove herself as well. Time is yet to be reckoned here for sure.
• United States
24 Feb 10
Danica will make it in NASCAR, she proved that with the 6th place finish in the ARCA race at Daytona and a solid run until the big one in the Nationwide race. Now it is up to her to learn these big boxy cars that don't want to turn!
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
22 Feb 10
I prefer Formula 1 than nascar, but I have been a fan of Danica ever since I saw Dave Letterman introduce her on his team. Not just because she's easy on the eyes, but because I'm always curious about women excelling on traditionally 'men's sports'. So, just like when Juan Pablo Montoya bolted formula 1 to be back on nascar, I would keep a lookout for Danica Patrick. And yes, I'll be patient.