Petty Was Right

Richard Petty, called “the King” of NASCAR caused a bit of a kerfuffle when he commented on the driving skills of Danica Patrick.

I have expressed a similar analysis of Danica’s driving skills but I have never been so descriptive as the King, who said Danica could only win a NASCAR race,”if everybody else stayed home.”

In the past I have compared Danica to Michelle Wie, the beautiful Hawaiian golfer — although subsequently Wie won two tournaments. I was remarking about the days when she was a willowy, 6’1″ absolutely stunning high schooler who had never even qualified for a women’s match, but who presumed to try to enter men’s matches. She was a decent, but unremarkable talent who used her beauty to use the press. Even now, a decade later she is unremarkable as a woman golfer — but still a beauty.

The first I recall was Anna Kournikova, a stunning Russian women’s tennis player whose bikini shots ranked her #1 in Google search, but she never won a Women’s Tennis Association title back when she used her beauty. She won a lot of eyeballs! Not so much as a tennis player.

Now Danica is not on the same “looks” department — but she certainly is not ugly, or even average, but she is not also not an average, much less good NASCAR wheelm…ahhh…wheelwoman. Perhaps she has potential, but she was not even a great open-wheel driver in INDY series.what she is, is a unique NASCAR driver. She is a woman.

(Admittedly, skills are not necessarily transferable between open-wheel and NASCAR, but she got the chance because she is a woman.)

There are much better drivers cooling their heels awaiting a seat on amatory team, while Danica’s a seat because she is a woman. Team owners can put their wives in the seat if they wish, but not without drawing the attention of the critics.

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