I’ll set the scene for you: here I am, sitting on the couch Saturday night, watching one of my favorite races of the year. The Southern 500 is something I look forward to, especially since I love Darlington. To me, it’s one of the greatest venues on the schedule. Armed with my iPhone, I am tweeting like crazy as I usually do. The TV broadcast on FOX is talking about a battle on the track. Life is good.
Then, we get our update from The Back of The Pack. I can’t hold back the urge to roll my eyes as Mike Joy says the magic word.
Patrick came over to NASCAR from Indy, now running a full Nationwide slate with JR Motorsports. Danica Mania is now full-force. She’s in every commercial for a Nationwide race, her commercials play constantly during the broadcasts, and, of course, we get updates about her running position when she isn’t in the top twenty.
The reason I said, ‘Ugh,’ is because it feels like everyone’s cramming her down our throats. If she’s running in 32nd like she was Saturday, I don’t want to hear about her. They don’t talk about Landon Cassil or David Reutimann when they’re running back in the thirties. If she’s having a good run up in 11th or 12th, then I can see the commentators talking about her, saying she’s doing a good job and getting a gold star for her efforts. But 32nd? Really?
Don’t confuse this with hate, however. I don’t hate Danica; she’s bringing attention to the sport and to female drivers. I applaud that. I hate how they’re using her as a promotion.
After the announcers stopped talking about Danica and went to commercial, I tweeted about this, how Danica didn’t really need to be shown. The response I got was, honestly, laughable. Some told me to stop hating on her. Others said I was right. An angry fan lashed out, stating I was jealous because Danica’s prettier than me.
I worry about some of these NASCAR fans sometimes, don’t you? Crazy people.
Being the third woman to try The Lady in Black, Patrick had a real task at hand. If you watched the Nationwide race Friday, however, you saw that she drove smart. She didn’t wreck or get a Darlington Stripe. Managing a 12th-place finish, her interview afterwards was understandable this time.
I never said she couldn’t drive, did I? It’s hard to focus on her talent when we hear about her every five minutes, and it’s even more ridiculous when she’s running six laps down. She may blossom into a championship-caliber driver one day, but it seems that Danica Mania is hurting her. There was so much pressure on her when she came into NASCAR, people wondering when she would win. Everyone needs to step back and take a deep breath. It’s her first year; she needs to learn and run more. Danica will get better as she goes along, and she’s bound to make mistakes in that time. The craziness needs to subside for a bit.
Do we have to hear about her when she’s no where near the lead lap? Not at all. When she earns the publicity by running up for and in contention, then I’ll understand.