The Post Game Show

Sunday, May 28, 2006

All my women who independent Pt. I

Editor's Note: This is the beginning of a brief series on my thoughts of women in athletics, beginning with the hype, the buzz, and the controversy about Auto Racing's first lady, Danica Patrick.

There was a quote by Diane Darcy (Julie Sommars) in the 1977 Disney movie, "Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo" where Jim Douglas (played by the never aging Dean Jones) tries to explain the insanity that lovable Volkswagen Bug Herbie put Diane through because he was crushing on her Lancia Sports Coupe. "You've got a real problem with women in racing, Mr. Douglas. Why is that? Do we drive too slow...or too fast?" That is certainly what came to mind when NASCAR legend "The King" Richard Petty made remarks this past week suggesting that women like Danica Patrick can't support themselves or even win in auto racing on any level.

This certainly re-hashes the age old chauvnistic principles held by men from all walks of life that a woman's place is in the kitchen and raising children. Lord knows, I've had my share of ignorant-ass moments describing my current feelings about women, but I have to disagree with The King on this one. Women can do anything they want these days, and it's definitely an insult to assume Danica isn't capable of winning the Indianapolis 500, which takes place later on today.

As a person who has been wild about wheels since I was a baby, I follow auto racing sparingly, so I can recite the names of Janet Guthrie and Shirley Muldowney as women who have tried to break the gender barrier in racing, along with Wendell Scott and Bill Lester as black men trying to break into the field. While NASCAR certainly has that "we don't like your kind around here" kind of feel, srange as it may seem, NASCAR would embrace a black champion long before they would a woman champion. Which is why Danica Patrick has a better shot in Indy car racing. If you notice, male Indy car drivers are waif-ish, frail cats who definitely do not cut imposing figures like Petty, the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr., or A.J. Foyt.

For those not familiar with Danica Patrick's resume`, she was the 2005 Indy Racing League's Rookie of the year, she actually led the Indy 500 in the final laps before coming up short last year, and she's brought attention to a section of racing that definitely needed a lifeline.

It doesn't hurt that she is attractive, count her as one of the maybe three or four non-black women I wouldn't kick out of my bed. Then again, it could hurt her because she herself is aware that all sizzle and no steak can lead to a short career. Danica has said herself that she's determined not to be "racing's Anna Kournikova," who we all know didn't win a single tennis tournament, but she's posted up along with empty bottles of lotion in many a pervert's private quarters.

As far has earnings, as Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon so eloquently stated on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption earlier this week, "Bill collectors are not knocking at her door." Between her endorsements, and oh yeah, the fact that she does well on the track, she is not a broke woman.

Truthfully, I hope she wins the Indy 500. It would be pretty cool to the see the look on the faces of the right wing, old guard, conservative good ol' boy network that a mere little lady kicked their butts and won arguably auto racing's most legendary event. That way, Richard Petty would have to make way for someone who's poised to wear the pants in the Auto Racing family.

2 Comments:

  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger jameil1922 said…

    i wasn't surprised. richard petty is one of a person i would be quick to typify as racist or sexist or whatever other ist you'd like to give him i can think of in professional "sports." that probably is due in large part to the fact that i grew up in charlotte. nascar country. people flock from all over the country to lowes motor speedway, formerly charlotte motor speedway. and the idolization of him and dale earnhardt, jr. but the people i'm convinced were racists certainly didn't help. never had a problem w/earnhardt. i don't know why, but he never struck me as a bigot. but petty. he seemed like all the racist white men i ever knew growing up. (did you notice you may have struck a nerve?)

    love danica's secret commercial where she's beating all the little boys in a racing game. hilarious.

     
  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Epsilonicus said…

    She was on the Tyra Banks show yesterday. I hope she wins too in order to shake some things up.

     

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