There are a few of us here at Pocket Doppler that actually like NASCAR to varying degrees. It should be no surprise that opinions on certain drivers vary amongst us…in particular the view on one Danica Patrick – who’s been dubbed ‘Sparkle Pony’ by another blogger, and seems to be the Jeremy Lin/Tim Tebow of NASCAR at the moment (which is to say she’s all ESPN talks about). Danica makes her Sprint Cup debut this weekend at the Daytona 500, and has the pole for the Nationwide race. The following is something of a ‘Point/Counterpoint’ (without the flinging of insults ;)) on the subject:

BigSnakeMan’s take:

Despite the fact that Danica Patrick was born in Wisconsin, I don’t care for her. I don’t have a problem with her being female; the problem is she’s whiny. I view her in much the same way I view Jermichael Finley. Both seem to possess a sense of entitlement that I don’t think has been earned to this point.

Danica has benefited from some things that have nothing to do with her driving ability. I’d like to see what someone like Sarah Fischer could do with the same equipment…and, by that I mean ‘racing’ equipment. Patrick complains about not being taken seriously, but it’s not like she plays down the physical angle. She seems to want to have it both ways. Fine, she can use the way she looks to her advantage. But then she shouldn’t complain when people call her on it.

Let’s face it, a big part of the reason she has a Sprint Cup ride is because she brought a ready sponsor with her in In a sense, yes, she’s like Paul Menard. Teams can’t afford to be turning down sponsor dollar these days. But Menard isn’t a prima donna and is also a capable driver.

It’s difficult for me to get behind her because of her attitude. From a casual view, she appears to be more noteworthy for her altercations than her successes…which don’t reflect well on her. She has yet to prove herself.

It seems fascinating that some call out those who dislike her for being a woman when in fact that’s primarily the reason some of her supporters do.

Colleen’s take:

I admit it…I like Danica Patrick. A lot. I am cognizant enough of my hypocrisy to admit (as I know BigSnakeMan is referring to people like me above) that a very essential reason of why I like her is the fact she is female, and a nice looking one at that.

Strange of me to say? I don’t think so. Females can’t compete with males in most sports. The very fact of the typical size difference between men and women mean that the most elite in the female gender are not going to be able to compete in brute strength and size with men. Can women be great soldiers or firefighters? Yes, I think so. But professional football players? While I can see a female punter or kicker at some point, beyond that, I think not.

Racing’s fun for me as a pro sport, because it’s different in the opportunity it affords females. It’s how you handle the car. It’s your reflexes and peripheral vision. It’s your ability to multitask. Women can do all these things as well as men can. (Multitasking? Way better.) Plus, women tend to weigh less, an advantage in racing. Every pound counts when you’re in a fuel mileage race.

I like the fact that a girl (yeah I use that term all the time) can race. I like it that she can keep up with the guys and beat them. And the fact that she’s attractive is just that much more of a “in your face” to anyone who thinks that someone who lacks the ability to grow a beard shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Patrick has been known to have an attitude…and yes, she could be described as petulant at times. But I think ultimately she can bring the goods to the track and be more than “just one of the guys.” It’s up to her to present a professional attitude and earn the respect of her naysayers but I for one believe she can do it.

Go get ‘em, ‘Sparkle Pony’. Beat the boys at their own game. I have a six pack of Spotted Cow riding on you.


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