Friday, December 22, 2017

Danica - An Admirable Role Model


Whatever you think about Danica Patrick and I know a lot of NASCAR fans don't like her, she will always and forever be one of my heroines. I like pushy pioneers, the ones who won't let life tell them no. Trailblazers always have to be able to take a lot of crap, shrug it off and keep going. The Suffragettes were that way, the civil rights warriors, the gay marriage proponents. They were scorned and beaten and jailed but they fought on. I realize Danica never had to worry about being beaten or jailed but scorn, oh, yes, there was plenty of scorn over her racing life. And maybe she didn't become a multiple winner but she held her own with plenty of men who were full-timers, in both IndyCar and NASCAR.

I read where Danica and Ricky are ending their relationship. Someone asked in a comment whether we thought Danica or Ricky initiated the break-up. On the one hand, I always thought Danica invested a lot more in their affair than he did. I saw her say once that she'd marry him if he asked which he obviously didn't.

I always thought of Ricky as in that group I think of as the Spoiled Boys. Young males like the Dillons, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, and, yes, in his younger years, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fortunately, most of them outgrow their casual arrogance but in the early years, they take their privileged lives for granted.

(My heart always goes to the Jimmie Johnson's and Kyle Larson's, whose parents would have gladly funded their sons' rides if they had been able to afford it. Instead, their kids had to scratch and claw to reach the top rungs of NASCAR).

So I think Ricky was just along for the ride with Danica. He took the path of least resistance and it was good for him while it lasted.

I still think though that Danica was probably the one who called a halt. She is such a driven person, I can't imagine her settling for being a partner who simply trailed her man around from race to race. She'll find something more challenging for herself.

Much of the criticism of her in the beginning was about being a Go Daddy Girl who posed for sexy photos in skimpy outfits. "Oh, my," the holier-than-thou NASCAR fans sniffed, "she's using her beauty and feminine wiles to get where she's trying to go," like that wasn't acceptable.

Oh, no, so much better to be born into it. That's the proper way to get a seat in NASCAR. Inherit it.

I remember talking to two of my bosses once. One of them came home from the military and said, "I'm going to be a fireman." And, voila, he applied and he was a fireman. Another one came home from the Army and said, "I'm going to be a cop" and, voila, he applied and was a cop. Both of those were good paying jobs on which you could raise a family.

At about the same time, I was a single mother. There was no hope of being either a fireman or a police officer back then so I did what most women did, became a secretary which barely paid the bills.

It's always been so for women. They have to take a different route to get where they are going and then they have to take heat for it.

How many other girls wanted to be racers and either could't find a sponsor or another path into the sports. I suppose there are probably lots of them. And Danica helped the younger ones have more confidence in their own abilities and possibilities.

She will always be an icon in NASCAR history for the fact that she leaped over the obstacles. I hate it that she's leaving. I hope she succeeds at whatever she does next. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The "Waitin' for Next Season" Blues

Don’t miss tonight’s NASCAR Cup Awards show, special edition of NASCAR America

I watched the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Awards Banquet after the fact because I was trying to put off the end of the season  No matter how long you wait though, you finally have to let it go. I always enjoy the red carpet as much as anything - the dresses and the hair styles. All the gals looking so sleek and chic and the men so suave.

It was okay with me that the banquet was cut down to a more manageable size. I always thought most of the comedians were pretty lame and I don't much care for singing. I just want to see the NASCAR stuff.

I have to admit, although I'm not a particularly sentimental person, I shed a few tears when Dale Jr. introduced Martin. It was very moving to see both Sherry and Martin tearing up too. I have said before this championship was a feel good story and the banquet highlighted that. Not just the driver himself but the crew and the owner as well. They didn't exactly come out of nowhere and, even though they improved steadily year by year, I doubt if anyone thought they'd ever be championship material. But, by gosh, Barney and the Colorado Gang proved everyone wrong. Hurray for them!

And not only did they win the championship but they won the Rookie of the Year with Erik Jones - who becomes the first driver to win Rookie of the Year in all three NASCAR series in three consecutive seasons.

To no one's surprise, Dale Junior won the Most Popular Driver of the Year for the 15th consecutive season. Who do you suppose will take his place in 2018? I'm kind of betting on Chase Elliott but it is possible that Junior Nation will remain with Alex Bowman in the 88 car.

I felt so sorry for Matt Kenseth. He looked pretty grim all night, like he was just trying to grit his teeth and get through the evening. Dale Jr. was all smiles but there is a big difference between retiring voluntarily and getting booted out.

I'm sorry, even though a realize that businessmen have to think like businessmen, I have never been a Joe Gibbs fan and his decision about Matt didn't help me warm up to him.

And what was the deal with Brian France? Was he sick or something. He flew off the stage like a scared pup.

So, let's see, next year, we will have a ton of changes and newbies to watch out for. I'm hoping Bubba Wallace has a great year. RPM may have a little catching up to do since they are switching from Ford to Chevy but forming an alliance with Richard Childress is bound to help - and changing manufacturers didn't seem to hurt Stewart-Haas too much.

Chevrolet drivers will be driving Camaros next year which is great. Camaro actually is a sports car. (Incidentally, I love Jimmie's new black paint scheme and can't wait to cheer it on!) Brad says Ford will behind the eight ball if they don't retool as Toyota and Chevy have done and I think he's probably right.

We still don't know for sure about Kurt Busch but he seems to indicate that he'll remain at Stewart-Haas. That is kind of a weird deal. I always though Kurt was Gene Haas' pet driver so I was surprised when his contract wasn't automatically renewed.

Tony Stewart is finally engaged and we have lots of babies coming. I don't know if I can remember them all - Dale, Kevin, Matt. I know I'm forgetting at least one.

So, I guess it is time to settle in to an off-season holding pattern. Come on, Daytona!