Danica Patrick creates histroy by winning the IndyCar Series raceApril 20th, 2008 - 11:13 pm ICT by amritpal
26 year old American auto racing driver Danica Patrick has become the first woman winner of Indy Racing League (IRL) on Sunday. She won by almost six seconds from Helio Castroneves. She said” “I knew I was on the same strategy as Helio and when I passed him for the lead I couldn’t believe it. My sex has got nothing to do with it. I believed in myself as a driver.”.
Patrick was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. In May 2006, she published her autobiography, Danica: Crossing the Line. With her win in the Indy Japan 300, Patrick became the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race, and only the second woman winning any event in the top tier of American motorsports, joining Shirley Muldowney who won three NHRA Top Fuel Championships and numerous site events.
With this win, Patrick has aptly replied to her critics who have been after her for quite a while. Despite perhaps the greatest hype of a driver, male or female, during her rookie year she failed to win a race in the first three years of her IRL career. She is compared to female athletes like Anna Kournikova by her apparent willingness to be marketed on her looks rather than her achievements, her recent posing for a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as one example.
Some racing journalists, IndyCar fans, and other drivers have claimed that Patrick’s relatively low body weight gives her an advantage in a competition where engine size and car weight are strictly regulated.
Patrick has also had to deal with sexist remarks from fellow racers, who feel that auto racing is a man’s sport. In May 2006, after an appearance on ESPN SportsCenter’s Budweiser Hot Seat, Patrick made comments that ruffled the feathers of former NASCAR drivers. Former driver Richard Petty responded, in a separate interview, by stating, “I just don’t think it’s a sport for women, and so far, it’s proved out. It’s really not. It’s good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity, it gives them publicity. But as far as being a real true racer, making a living out of it, it’s kind of tough.”