Normally, when a driver finishes seventh in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, it isn’t big news. It’s not even a top-five for crying out loud. But when that driver finishing seventh is Danica Patrick? STOP THE PRESSES! Okay, so that was my snide attempt at sarcasm. Anyway, in case you haven’t heard, Patrick finished seventh at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night.
Should the media be making a big deal about it? Should I have followed along by discussing it here in this blog space? The finish was Patrick’s best-career finish. But she’s been at this whole Sprint Cup racing thing for over a year now, so should we really be excited about a finish outside the top-five at this point in her career, even if it is a career-best?
I guess it is what it is. Patrick is a big mainstream celebrity, so when she’s in the news for anything, I guess it does put more eyes on NASCAR. But should we feed into the frenzy?
Yes, I get the whole Danica’s the first woman to do this, the first woman to do that, and yada, yada. And before you suggest I’m some kind of anti-woman in NASCAR, you can jump off that high horse right now. I’m a woman, myself.
It’s just that, early in her NASCAR days, Patrick said something to the effect of not being interested in being the first woman to do this or that. Instead, she wanted to simply be recognized as a racer, not receive special attention for the mere fact that she’s female. Maybe we should be granting that wish
I think maybe we should wait until she puts together a string of top-10s before we start making a big deal. A few top-fives would be even better. Better yet — a win.
No, I’m not anti-Patrick. I’m definitely not anti-women in NASCAR. But while I think women should receive equal treatment and attention in the sport, I don’t think the treatment and/or attention should be preferential.
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For those who do care, here’s a Danica photo gallery for your enjoyment (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):