With the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season opener last week I thought I’d try and keep up on my blogging this season. Tuesday mornings at a sweet little coffee shop to motivate my writing sounds like just the incentive I need to commit to my blog. I had a topic in mind but after seeing Andretti Autosports post about Danica I knew I had a couple things I wanted to say.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Andretti Autosport put up a post stating that in 2008 Danica Patrick became the first female to win in IndyCar. I knew better than to look at the comments but couldn’t help myself.
One of the first comments I saw (on Facebook, above link is Twitter) was that the only reason Danica won the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi was because everyone in front of her ran out of gas. This commenter must have never watched racing. So many times that is how the winner takes the checkered flag. Scott Dixon is credited with being among the best to save fuel and be there at the end to claim the win. When Danica does it, it must just be a complete fluke.
Circumstances were different in the season opener at St Pete this year but how come no one was saying that about Marcus Ericsson. The only reason Marcus won was because Romain Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin took each out allowing Pato O’Ward to move to the lead. Pato had a weird, random engine sputter and Marcus Ericsson passed him and claimed the victory. I’m not hearing that Marcus should not have won, that is was a fluke and he doesn’t deserve it. The same could be said of his Indianapolis 500 victory where Scott Dixon looked to be set up to win but had a pit speed violation that cost him the win. Marcus was there to claim the victory same as Danica was in position at Motegi.
Of Danica’s win it is said that Helio Castroneves did not realize she was on the lead lap or he would not have let her pass. Hmm? Maybe that is true but maybe not, regardless she was ahead of Helio when it mattered.
Another comment was that Danica wrecked her car every race. Now they are just making things up. Danica brought her car home in one piece most races. I’d say if anything she needed to be a bit more aggressive and take some chances to get the win. She raced well and kept her nose clean more often than not.
Another lie was that she was always in the back of the pack and never really even in contention for a race win. Seriously, where do these people get their facts? Danica consistently put herself in a position to win the race. She remained on the lead lap and finished well. With the exception of her rookie season she finished the season ranked 10th or higher. She was 5th in 2009 and finished the Indy 500 in third place that year. She was always in the mix.
So why does Danica continue to be put down for her racing when other female drivers in IndyCar are praised yet can’t even come close to the race results that Danica had? Everyone adores Sarah Fisher, myself included. Fisher won a pole, had two podiums and 7 top 10. Those numbers with the exception of Danica’s win are similar to Danica. However the overall rankings for the season are quite different with Danica clearly in the lead. Yet, Sarah is never criticized like Danica. Simona DeSilvestro and Pippa Mann fall even farther behind yet are praised for their accomplishments. So at the end of the day people just don’t like Danica.
Danica has big personality. She is not afraid to say what she thinks and maybe doesn’t always think before she speaks. She is absolutely gorgeous and used her beauty to promote herself. She has rubbed many people wrong over the years both in IndyCar and NASCAR so she is not well liked by many. That is what it is but that is not a reason to say she was an awful driver and never should have been given a ride in IndyCar.
I personally can’t stand Ryan Hunter-Reay. I’ve gone into this on different posts so I won’t get into it here but he has disappointed us every time we met him and we are not fans of his. If he walked past me I wouldn’t stop him for a picture or autograph. However, I also won’t put down his racing career just because I don’t like him. I can appreciate that he was an accomplished driver and talented. All I want is for others to give Danica the respect she deserves as a winning IndyCar driver. You can choose to like her or not but you lose all credibility when you put down her accomplishments on the racetrack regardless of the circumstances. Racing is all about circumstances and having the talent, gumption and determination to put yourself where you need to be to perform well. Danica did that. Maybe you don’t approve of how she built her popularity but she is still the most successful woman in IndyCar and I suspect will remain so for many years. So stop the hating, it’s just wrong.
Wrapping this up I will say we have always been fans of Danica at my house. My sons were young when she was in IndyCar and especially loved watching her drive the bright green GoDaddy car. It was so easy to pick out on track. We were thrilled when she won and have always celebrated her accomplishments. We remain fans of Danica Patrick!