Archive for Saturday, July 1, 2006

Happy to hype

IRL’s Patrick misses buzz that enveloped rookie year

July 1, 2006


— Sure, the media room is still crowded, and Danica Patrick is still holding 30-minute press conferences when she has no top-five finishes this year.

But make no mistake about it. Patrick, more than anyone, misses the mania.

"I like doing interviews. I enjoy it," Patrick said. "I suppose I miss that hype a little bit. It will come. The results just have to jump back up again."

After an exciting Indy Racing League rookie campaign - which included winning the pole at the Kansas Speedway and finishing fourth at the Indianapolis 500 - Patrick has somewhat fallen back into the fray after experiencing what has been a rebuilding year with her Rahal Letterman team.

Shortly after the season began, the team changed over from Panoz to Dallara cars, a dramatic shift usually held for the off-season.

The result has been a tough transition for Patrick, who is currently 12th in the point standings with a highest overall finish of sixth.

"It's a painful process. It's not pretty from the outside with our results right now," Patrick said. "But in the long run this is the sort of thing that you have to do. We all just have to stick it out."

The change in cars has forced her crew to make adjustments on the run. At Texas Motor Speedway, her only goal was to make sure her seat was in the correct position.

"You get 5 Gs in the corner. We're going 200 miles per hour side-by-side. The last thing you want to be thinking is, 'Oh wait. My glove is catching on that hook. I can't turn,'" Patrick said. "You guys might think that sounds kind of silly, but it's a lot different than driving a car."

The rough times have taken some of the media glare and pressure off Patrick as far as the Indy Racing League is concerned.

Though many would welcome stepping out of the spotlight, Patrick only wishes she was back in it.

"Am I enjoying life more? I'd be lying if I told you yes," Patrick said. "The racing is what makes me happy, and it's not going very well. We're struggling."

Though her racing has hit somewhat of a speed bump, the same cannot be said about her career off the track.

She has recently been named one of Spin Magazine's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" and is also currently an endorser for Hostess, appearing on Twinkies and Cupcakes boxes.

Patrick said becoming such an icon was a goal that she never believed she couldn't accomplish.

"I've been a successful driver since I was 10 years old. For me to not dream and think that could keep happening through my career would be cheating myself," Patrick said. "Yeah, I thought that could happen. I knew that a woman being a pro and racing well is something the sport hasn't seen, and that it would be a good story.

"And a big story."

Patrick understands just how big she has become. She hopes that her breaking into the IRL will at least let other young girls know the door is open for them to do the same.

"Maybe now that I'm in the Indy Car series, and there are other women in other series, they have someone to look up to," Patrick said. "They're playing with those Indy Cars now maybe."

As for Patrick, she'll try to get comfortable with her own car to return to national prominence for racing.

She's done pretty well for herself thus far.

"I dared to dream, I guess," Patrick said. "I know those are cliched sort of phrases, but I really think it's important. I think it's important to dare to dream really big."


reginafliangie 11 years, 11 months ago

Mmmmmmmm not I. Sounds like she is missing her 15 min of fame.

Steve Jacob 11 years, 11 months ago

She was in a car that most agreed a good driver would have won INDY 500 last year. While she is young, and probally a big draw for IRL, now, until she wins a race, is unimportant. But as I tell everyone, NASCAR is where the moneys at.

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

hey! this is important. She drives her car round and round and round and round really fast.

audvisartist 11 years, 11 months ago

You just made me dizzy moose... round and round and round and round...

bankboy119 11 years, 11 months ago

Marion, I hope you're not serious about NASCAR being the number one spectator sport. What a waste of time.

Steve Jacob 11 years, 11 months ago

The biggest problem with NASCAR, is more and more cheating. You win a race, they check your car, opps, something wrong with it that makes your car faster. Ohh, you lose points! After awhile, your crew chief MIGHT get suspended.

reginafliangie 11 years, 11 months ago

Can somebody explain the appeal of watching cars drive around in a circle?? I just don't get it. My husband loves it. I would rather watch paint dry. Or actually do something productive with those 4 or so hours that those races kill.

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't care that Nascar was started by God-fearing moonshiners.

I just find it hard to believe anyone enjoys watching cars go round and round and round and round for hours on end.

But hey, whatever floats yer boat.

Sigmund 11 years, 11 months ago

I'd be more interested in a F1 or Grand Prix racing, like the grown ups do in Europe, but I guess I have to settle for Indy style racing here in Lawrence. NASCAR is to racing what WWF is wrestling.

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

The South has given us so much... not just Nascar

like moonshinin' and corn shuckin' and pie eatin' and frog stompin' and cousin kissin' and sheep lovin' and lynchin'.

Don't forget lynchin'

b_asinbeer 11 years, 11 months ago

If she likes to go round and round a lot, she'll surely enjoy our roundabouts here in beautiful Lawrence.

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

Don't forget grits eatin' and bible thumpin' and Ku Klux Klannin' and meth makin'

Bobbi Walls 11 years, 11 months ago

I am female, and happen to love Nascar... I don't care much for IRL or the truck series, but I love nascar.... I would much rather watch cars go around a track, then watch the Royals lose again and again... and the crashes are awesome to see too.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Marion, Who are these Feminazis of whom you speak? What group of women have ever killed millions of Jews and tried to take over the world through military might? As far as touting Patrick as a champion of womanhood, as you put it, would that be the equivalent of what men do when they build statues to people like Michael Jordan whose one great accomplishment in life is the ability to put a ball in a hoop? Does this mean that men who pound their chest or paint their face in favor of a sports team should be called Masculinazis? Or do you need to just put women down for voicing an opinion to be considered a Masculinazi?

Now, for those who have ever considered what is and isn't a "sport," Patrick is actually proof that racing isn't a sport. Men have a biological, muscular advantage over women in sporting events -- men, for the most part, are stronger and faster than women, especially when you look at the strongest and fastest of men. No contest. The reason Patrick can compete at an even level with the men is because racing is about mechanics, not sporting competition.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

oh marion I get it but the crashes are cool. You get to sit there and see it and oh my god is he alright and then say wow so glad it is not get to watch people go fast and almost hit walls in a very controlled caotic dangours way and not risk your own neck. Go like he** and beat the other guy But the crashes are cool.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

beatice have you raced before please let the world know when and where so we can confirm you expertice on racing not being a sport.

reginafliangie 11 years, 11 months ago

Thank god everyone is different and didn't like the same thing, makes the world more interesting. But I guess some think you have a problem with life if you don't like what they like. Sorry Marion, not everyone is going to like the races. Nothing wrong with that. Just how it is, I don't think making fun of people because of it is very nice. Can't we just have fun talking about it?? Must every discussion have a link to a site to "validate" everything you say. Can't anyone have a fun discussion?

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

Dagnabbit!! I done forgot greased pig chasin'

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

mom-2: Why no, I have not raced before. So what? Have you ever climbed Everest? Nor have I, but I would still be accurate in claiming it to be a mountain based on observation. I've observed the phenomenon of racing, and I say it isn't a sport but mechanics since what is required to win more than anything else is a fast car. Put me in a Corvette and Patrick in a Chevette, and I would win the race.

Of course, at the top levels of racing it is a matter of degrees and not as exaggerated an example as the Corvette / Chevette I put forth. Certainly, some drivers will show more skill than others and they may do this over and over again, but the fundamental necessity to win is to have the fastest car.

However, skill alone doesn't make something a sport. It takes skill to make a great apple pie, grow a beautiful garden, sew a button faster than another -- but should any of these things be considered a sport?

The necessity to have a fast car is different from other sports. For example, the skill in baseball of hitting a fastball can't be installed on the player. There are no tire changes for someone who can't hit a jumpshot in basketball.

If you enjoy racing, that is fine with me. I think it is great for the economics of the Lawrence community to have a track nearby, and I don't believe all race fans are "rednecks." I just simply don't think of racing as a "sport" and I've never heard a good explaination of why I should think it is. If you don't agree with me, try explaining it. I would like to know, in your opinion, what makes racing a sport rather than an exercise in mechanics? Go ahead -- try to convice me.

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

Pilgrim - nosebleeeds? Well if you snort da meth it makes your nose bleed and if you drink too much moonshine ya go blind and if you listen to the bible-thumpers yer ears bleed

       @ @

all yous uppity varmits izza irritating me so I'm gonna go gaze at my Dale Earnheardt Jr poster cuz he's purdy

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Staying indoors today because it is already well over 100 degrees here. Thanks for the entertaining banter to keep me distracted from doing house chores.

Marion - apple pies don't bake themselves, either. That human factor is a skill, but that doesn't make baking a sport, nor does it qualify racing as one.

Pilgrim -- a couple of things. Yes, if we were in identical cars Patrick would kick my tail. She has skills and training. But that is really my point. It would require the mechanics to be near even for her to be able to beat little old me in a race. That is why she can compete against the boys -- she has sponsorship that will buy her a car as good as the ones the boys have.

As far as a driver having strong legs in order to make it a sport -- Does this mean that Patrick would kick tail on male and female long-distance runners? If that is what makes it a sport, then why include a car at all? Also, why don't male and female runners compete against each other? It is because men, for the most part, have stronger legs than women. If it was only about muscles, Patrick wouldn't stand a chance against men due to the biological differences between men and women. Again, this is why racing is about mechanics and not a sport. (And yes, just so you know, I excercise regularly and actually can run for that long. I've not run in any full marathons, but I've thought about maybe trying someday -- although I'm not sure how good I am on a tricycle.)

Keep trying folks!

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Oops, I see in our civil discourse that we have lost Marion back to his usual standard of name-calling. Swine indeed. Oh well, I at least tried to respond to him as a decent human being for a change. Silly me.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

racing is a sport... my husband and daughter both race, so....

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Come on Pilgrim, don't get distracted by the drunk moose on the loose. Stay focused on the argument at hand.

Now, there are no holes in the argument. marathon running = sport (which explains why men and women don't compete against each other in this event), while racing = non-sport due to the necessity for a machine to propel the racer around the track and not just leg strength, which is why men and women can compete equally. I agree that racing is a competition, but in racing if the engine isn't working, where are you?

I should point out that the hole in your argument is that anything that requires stamina and endurance (and I'll add remaining focused and being brave) should then be considered a sport. I'm sure those are qualities of the finest fighter pilots, and there are certainly winners and losers when it comes to fighter pilots, but I don't see this activity being considered a sport. Sex is another example. Competetive Scrabble still another (although bravery is clearly less important here). Again, neither of these are sports.

So you see, you still haven't convinced me that racing isn't about mechanics more than anything else.

I'm still not saying people shouldn't enjoy racing -- taking part or watching. To each her own. I just think they should keep it off ESPN and save that air space for real sports -- like Spelling Bees!

Mike Blur 11 years, 11 months ago

Beatrice said:

"Come on Pilgrim"

That's the name of a Pixies record!

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow, It is such a privilege to be in the presence of the two most pompous and narcissistic sophists found on these boards.

Alas I am not native American nor am I drunk. If I were drunk it might make reading your unctuous dispensations a tad bid more bearable.

Did I mention my gratitude to the South giving us the meth makin', cousin kissin', beer swillin', sheep lovin' yokels that make this country great.

And don't forget lynchin'

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Its more of an EP than a full record, wouldn't you say?

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

oh dear. I forgot the South's grandest son Rush Limbaugh. Where would we be without that percocet gulping , viagra smugglin' toad?

My, why would a good conservative like Rush need viagra? He's not even married. hmmmm

classclown 11 years, 11 months ago


Non Athletic "Sport" Created Around Rednecks

classclown 11 years, 11 months ago

"... Patrick said. "Yeah, I thought that could happen. I knew that a woman being a pro and racing well is something the sport hasn't seen, and that it would be a good story."


I guess she has never heard of Shirley Muldowney.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

guess not to bad she started it all when it comes to women and racing, and when it comes to speed that woman kicks nascars butt. But I like nascar so will not knock it. And it is a sport you take those turns for 2-3 hrs on that kinda bank and see if it is so easy people. strenth endurance stamina, takes it all.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Marion: "If you read carefully (Assuming that you CAN read!) you may learn a bit of the sporting aspect of motor racing."

So, Marion, I ask you -- must you always try to insult someone when they don't agree with your world view? You display the argumentative skills of a ten year old. Obviously I can read, so your little swipe is silly at best, just as your comment about Feminazis earlier in the day is a line that says more about you than it does about anyone else. Not only that, but you constantly paste links to things other people have written instead of using your own words. At least I give voice to my own arguments.

Besides that, I was having fun with this today as I clearly don't care in the slightest about racing and race fans. Knowing that it gets you all bunged up is just a bonus.

And I still don't see racing as a true sport.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Actually, I'm not defining what a sport is, I'm just saying racing isn't one.

By the way Marion, you aren't the first to call me Aunt Bea -- not in life and not around here. Heck, you aren't even the first to do so around here this week.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

oooohhh, a "typical woman"! And you would know something about women, typical or otherwise, how?

Besides, I never saw you define what qualifies as a sport, just your saying that racing counts as one.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

it is more than keeping a car on course alot more but enough of this holiday weekend go out and enjoy people.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.