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Woody: Danica Bashing Stinks

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, December 11 2009
Danica Patrick is being kicked around pretty good these days. (RacinToday file photo by Tony Bush)

Danica Patrick is being kicked around pretty good these days. (RacinToday file photo by Tony Bush)

In the aftermath of Danica Patrick’s announced plan to stick her toe into NASCAR’s Nationwide pool next year, I’ve been surprised by the amount of hostile fan response.

Is Danica fiery and temperamental?

Yes she is. Just like A.J. Foyt used to be.

Is she a tough, take-no-prisoners racer?

You bet. Just like The Intimidator was.

Has she proven she has the skill, nerve and grit to drive extremely fast?

No question. Let Miss Daisy try zinging around Indy sometime.

Can she apply her Indy skills to stock cars?

Nobody knows. Not Danica, and certainly not the Harpies that are haranguing her.

It’s downright amusing to hear some arm-chair gearhead – who’d have to be defrosted and pried out of the car if he ever made a lap around Indy at Danica-speed – pontificate about how Patrick can’t cut it in NASCAR.

Some guy whose experience with high speed consists of making a beer run during halftime suddenly is an expert on whether Danica Patrick can succeed or not.

Maybe she can’t. Maybe she’ll wash out. But the Danica-bashers should keep in mind that a lot of fairly talented male drivers have failed to make it, too.

I detect some “because she’s a girl” bias. Maybe Freud could explain their fear of fast women.

To discount Patrick because she’s a female is nonsense. I’d take Danica in an arm-wrestling contest with many of NASCAR’s current hotshots. She has strength and stamina – despite what we’re told by some critic reclining in his Lard-Boy munching Fritos and onion dip.

Some of the Danica detractors resent the fact that she’s getting so much attention for so little results. They claim it’s because of her good looks. So what? More power to her if she can cash in.

A lot of fans admire her spunk and spirit. Who they root for –and for whatever reason – is their business.

Keep in mind, a lot of NASCAR guys got reams of media coverage over the years without winning many more races than Danica.

On one hand it’s tempting to tell the critics to get off Patrick’s back and give her a chance. Wait to see if she falls on her face before they begin booing. At least let her get on the track first.

On the other hand, the critics are playing right into her hands. The more they fuss, the more attention she gets. One critic said her entry into NASCAR is like the WWF, and maybe that’s a good analogy – he’s one of the wacky fans booing from the cheap seats.

NASCAR of course loves every media-mania minute of it. Danica already has got more ink and air time than Jimmie Johnson generated by winning the championship.

So let the skeptics whine and the cynics whimper. When Patrick rolls onto the track you know where they’ll be – glued to the TV. Yeah, they will be hoping to see her fizzle and fail, but at least they’ll be watching – all part of the Patrick plan.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, December 11 2009


  • Walter Bullard says:

    If any of you NASCAR fans pay attention to NHRA drag racing(If you don’t you should) you all ready know that the females are making a big impact on a sport that is increasing in popularity. Ashley Force Hood came in 2nd in points for the championship just behind her team mate Robert Hight.Ashley is easy on the eyes, a wonderful human being, and can drive the hell out of a Funny Car at speeds in excess of 300 MPH. Unfortunately there were many great female racers who were not able to compete this year because of the recession and lack of sponsorship. Bottom line I believe before people start condemning and failing Danica, they should give her the benefit of trying a sport where men are the only participants. She may just surprise some of you doubters! I’ve been watching Ashley Force Hood race for years and it is absolutely amazing how far she has come and how she is NEVER taken lightly. She was born to race. To put that in prospective, her father John Force did not win a single race this year. The last time that happened, Ashley was 4 years old!!!

    • Ed Smith says:

      Walter, I agree with you 100% about Ashley Force Hood! She’s become the superstar of drag racing by winning races, and by being a great person who works hard to reach out to non-traditional drag racing fans like women and kids. I like Danica Patrick, but she should note that Ashley Force Hood became a superstar without posing in a bikini!

  • Marybeth says:

    I have cheered for Danica in IRL and will also in stock car, as I will cheer for Milka, too. I wish them both the best. You would have to be fiery and have a backbone of steel to compete in the world of racers.

  • Marybeth says:

    “NASCAR HAD to have Danica. NASCAR desperately needed something or someone to get fans back into the stands and back in front of the TV. Danica was the perfect choice. Am I the only conspiracy-theorist who thinks Brian France was behind this whole dog-and-pony show?”
    I am a conspiracist enough to also think that it was engineered by the man in charge of Nascar…and that isn’t Brian France.

    • Ed Smith says:

      One could only wish Brian France wasn’t in charge of NASCAR, but history shows the Frances have ruled NASCAR with a tyranny that would make the Spanish Inqusition gag!

  • Ed Smith says:

    NASCAR HAD to have Danica. NASCAR desperately needed something or someone to get fans back into the stands and back in front of the TV. Danica was the perfect choice. Am I the only conspiracy-theorist who thinks Brian France was behind this whole dog-and-pony show? I feel sorry for Ms. Patrick; she’ll be under the microscope like no other driver has been, and every mistake she makes will be analyized to death. Which is exactly what NASCAR wants. They don’t care whether she succeeds or fails, as long as it creates buzz. To NASCAR, the only bad buzz is no buzz.

  • steve-o says:

    Yeah, I like my beer and have only raced late models but just take Felix Sabates and Jack Rouschs’ word for it. She’s barking up the wrong tree. Sure, Nascar loves this. Isn’t the France family billionaires? Do they need more money? Will they be hiring a consultant from World Wrestling? Time to retire, Woody.

  • Danica almost invited the criticism on herself when she said that she couldn’t remember the last time she got in a stock car.

    Someone without a safety net trying to get into NASCAR wouldn’t have said that.

  • Richard in N.C. says:

    Good article. I am anxious to see how she can handle a stock car – but more anxious to see if she can help attract more interest and sponsors to the N-wide series, and maybe even get the rules changed some to eliminate the start & park parasites like MSRP.

  • J.J. says:

    You can’t tell the difference inside a race car what gender a driver is. And if you could, what difference would it make?

    Here’s how I see Patrick’s transition to Nascar:

    1. She’ll do no worse than any of the mid-pack drivers already in Cup. The girl can drive.

    2. Her transition will be aided by the fact that Nascar wants her to succeed. In addition to having the best equipment (which any newcomer would love to have), a pretty good crew chief in Tony Sr. and, very likely, just like Ryan Newman did with Buddy Baker, the best “coaching” around.

    Danica Patrick will succeed in Nascar. Will she be great? Greatness is a rare thing and can’t be predicted, but success? you bet.

  • Bill B says:

    How can you even begin to compare her with Earnhardt or Foyt? How many wins does she have in IRL? Are you serious. Although I’ve got admit I’ve never seen the Intimidator or AJ Foyt in a bikini or stilhettos so perhaps you may have a point.

    I get it. It’s the off season and you don’t have anything else to write about that will stir the pot.

  • mrclause says:

    Hey Woody, You sit there trashing the readers you want to build your readership/following for having opinions yet you dump your opinions on us? What!? I’ve been a long time fan of Danica until she showed her diva side before she ever turned a wheel. Evidently she is the only IRL hotshot that has no need to earn her way, demands a guaranteed starting spot so she won’t have to earn it and gets it. She say’s she’s “only dipping her toes in our waters” well I think we deserve more than that from anyone. We aren’t the red headed step child of the racing world. She certainly is not the elite of the racing world. Show some respect for our sport, our fans, and some real commitment like JPM has done.

  • Rachel says:

    Can’t stand the woman. Can’t stand her in open wheel, will cheer against her in NASCAR. Totally overrated (like her boss). Grand total of one victory in Indy cars. Wow! And any time anybody gets in her way, she goes after ’em off track. But the boys are afraid to get in her face, because she is girl and that would be ungentlemanly. Well, gentlemen, that is NO lady, so feel free to trash her just like any guy – that’s what she says she wants. Actually, everything about her says she wants it both ways. She is proof that for a woman in sports, a pretty face and shape can still make up for lack of talent.

  • Ginger says:

    Thank you for writing the first article I’ve seen that gives Danica a chance rather than counting her out before the bell has rung. Nascar is a strange world, and some Nascar writers are even stranger. They seem to think that giving a woman a chance to do well on the track is a sign of their own weakness. You, on the other hand, are man enough to feel confident in your own skin and willing to wait and see how this all works out. It will be a tough road, but expections shouldn’t be so high that noone could fulfill them. My hope is that the drivers will be as respectful to her as she is to them. She just might surprise all of us, and I wish her nothing but the best.

  • scottb says:

    A lot of NASCAR guys get more attention with less results? Whoa, back that truck up!

    I’ll assume you’re Junior bashing here. No question he gets more than his share of media attention, but we are still talking about a driver with 18 Cup wins and back to back Busch championships. And Danica?

    If your comment refers to someone other than Jr, how about backing the opinion up by actually naming the mystery man who’s stealing the spotlight?

  • Becca says:

    I’m so excited to see Danica in a stock car. It’s a crazy change- in terms of weight, reaction time of car, etc. But I love that she’s tough and fiesty! Makes her exactly like every other NASCAR driver! She’s gonna cause crashes, she’s going to avert them. I hope that naysayers become fans! Lookout boys, Danica is behind you! Oh, sorry, she WAS behind you. Clear. Great article!

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