Harris: Let’s Give The Woman A Chance
By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
I could be wrong, but:
I think Danica Patrick will be a success in NASCAR – though it may take a few years.
I have to laugh over the fuss created by Patrick’s decision to give stock cars a try.
The naysayers have come out in force. Why?
I guess they don’t like the idea of a woman racing with their heroes – and maybe beating them. Or maybe the idea that an IndyCar driver could be competitive in stock cars upsets them. Or perhaps they simply don’t like the sometimes feisty Ms. Patrick.
What many people don’t seem to grasp is that Danica, despite her gender and diminutive size, is 100-percent racer. There are things she enjoys in life besides driving race cars – what she calls “girly things’’ like fashion and cooking – but her main focus at the ripe old age of 27 is racing. And she’s pretty darn good at it.
Granted, she has only one IndyCar win. But Danica is competitive to a fault. And these aren’t the stock cars driven by Junior Johnson or Fireball Roberts. The current cars have power steering and stop a whole lot easier than in the early days of the sport. You don’t have to wrestle them like a big old bear.
It does take a whole lot of concentration and awareness of those other cars around you at speeds up to 200 mph, but those are traits she has proven to possess in open-wheel racing.
Others have written about her handshake of iron, and I have felt it more than once. And, hey, she isn’t that much smaller than physical fitness buff Mark Martin. Probably doesn’t have much more body fat either.
So give her a chance to make her mistakes and find out if she can be competitive in NASCAR. She might just surprise you. And isn’t it past time for a woman star in the stock car sport?
It seems that some people are blaming Rick Hendrick for Dale Earnhardt Junior’s struggles the past two years.
They say he isn’t giving Junior the best equipment and that he is satisfied simply to reap the benefits of Little E’s popularity and big dollar sponsorships, despite all his talk about trying to make the 88 team competitive.
Rick Hendrick is one of the most competitive people in the sport. Above all, he wants to win. He hasn’t won all those championships by picking and choosing which of his drivers would get the “good’’ equipment.
Hendrick would no sooner settle for letting one of his teams wallow in mediocrity without trying to fix the situation than he would tell people to come on down to his car dealerships and just take any car they want.
And, the final reason Hendrick is doing his best to turn things around for the 88: He genuinely likes Dale Jr. and wants him to succeed.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not people appreciate what Jimmie Johnson has accomplished in winning four straight Sprint Cup championships.
Johnson may not get the accolades he deserves until after he calls it quits, maybe another 10 or 15 years down the road. By then, folks might actually realize that this guy was something special.
On the other hand, should Johnson win the Cup again in 2010 or just go on to outstrip the seven titles by NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, that recognition could come even sooner _ so-called bland personality or not.
Either way, Johnson has already proven to me that he’s one of the best ever.
– Mike Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments