Danica Patrick

I was going to rehash all the stories I had read on the internet and watched on tv the last couple of days. Honestly I kept deleting everything I had written. Even with this post, I am having a hard time writing about the story. But on the eve of the Budweiser Duels, here goes, my take on this historical even in sports history.

I have heard so much talk about Danica since she decided to come over to NASCAR from Indy Car.  There has already been quite a lot of hoopla surrounding her arrival both good and bad.  But you cannot argue with the historical significance of what she accomplished on Sunday.  Title IX has been law since 1972.  I was only two years old when this went into effect.  Growing up I lived next door to three boys.  Of the three, two were very rambunctious and into sports.  We all played football, basketball, and baseball together.  It didn’t matter that I was a girl to them (well, at least until I hit puberty).  I was good at all the sports. I held my own with this boys.  And to blunt, I could throw a football better than most of the boys on the block.  However, I was somewhat limited to the sports I could participate in at school.  It wasn’t because I was a girl, it was because my school didn’t have many offerings for girls.  In junior high, it was basketball and track.  In high school it was the same thing.  But either way I was given the opportunity to play sports.  I did play soccer and softball through other sports programs offered.

As a young girl growing up in the 1980s I didn’t have many female sports figures I could follow or point to for inspiration.  All the ones I grew up knowing and following were men.  The only time I can remember watching women participate sports was on Wide World of Sports, Wimbledon, or the Olympics.  I believe the only women’s basketball I ever saw was when the NCAA tournament rolled around in March.  That was it.  I knew there were women who were participating in sports, but there wasn’t they didn’t receive the exposure they do today.

As a young girl, I went to the local dirt track on Saturday nights with my father.  I so wanted to be a race car driver.  I wanted to get out there on that dirt track and race with those guys.   There were no women I knew of at the time that raced.  But as I know now that wasn’t true.  Women have been a part of NASCAR since it’s inception from Sara Christian (first female driver in NASCAR) to Louise Smith to Janet Guthrie (she also competed in Indy Series) to Shawna Robinson and now Danica Patrick.  Each of these women and the many others who have been part of NASCAR have laid the groundwork for Danica.  And whether you like it or not, she is laying the groundwork for the next generation of female racers who want to race in NASCAR.

Of all the side stories that came out of qualifying this past Sunday the one I enjoyed the most was about Ella Gordon, daughter of Jeff Gordon.  I found the story on USA Today written by Jeff Gluck http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/02/17/danica-patrick-daytona-500-pole-jeff-gordon/1926541/).  Danica took a picture with 5-year old Ella Gordon after winning the pole on Sunday.  According to her father, Ella didn’t realize girls could grow up to be race car drivers until Patrick came along.  Now Ella can grow up knowing women do race in NASCAR thanks to Danica.  Who knows 20 years from now we may Miss Ella Gordon and other young ladies competing in NASCAR.

And folks that is the significance of this accomplishment.

Don’t forget…

  • Fan Driven 400–Don’t forget you can become part of NASCAR history too!  You can submit your idea for naming the June 9, 2013 race at Pocono.  You have until Monday, February 25 to get your idea submitted online at walmarurl.com/FanDriven.  For more additional information about how you can participate your participate in the “Fan Driven 400” go to https://trixiestrailerpark.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/fan-driven-400/
  • Budweiser Duels are on tomorrow, February 21!  This is the first time in awhile I be home to watch them.  Several drivers are already “in” the 500 due to speeds set on Sunday.  These include Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon, Trevor Bayne, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse, and Kurt Busch.
  • All the points racing action begins Friday with the Camping World Trucks Series, then Saturday with the Nationwide Series, and finally the Daytona 500!  It has definitely been a very long off-season!

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