danica patrick at daytona 500
You’ve probably heard a lot about Danica Patrick at Daytona 500 lately. Most of us know that Danica is a race car driver — and that she’s hot. But there’s a lot more to her than that!
So who is Danica Patrick? Danica’s been racing since before she could actually drive. She began go-kart racing when she was 10 years old and won several World Go Karting Association championships. She dropped out of high school and got her GED so she could focus on racing, moving to Milton-Keynes, England when she was 16. She earned second place in Britain’s Formula Ford Festival — the highest ranking ever by a female. You go, girl!
In 2002, Danica came back to the U.S., where she competed in Rahal Letterman Racing, eventually coming in third place in the championships. In 2005, Danica began driving in the IndyCar Series — and became only the fourth woman to ever compete in the Indianapolis 500. She finished in fourth place, the highest ever by a female driver. She kept competing and doing well, and in 2008 won the Twin Ring Motegi in the Indy Japan 300. She finished 2008’s IndyCar season in sixth place, beating out all of her fellow American competitors.
In 2009, Danica finished in third at the Indy 500, setting a record high for females again. She set yet another record the next year for consecutive races completed in the Indycar Series (she finished every race of the 2010 season in addition to all but the first race of the 2009 season).
Because of her stellar, barrier-breaking record, all eyes are now on Danica Patrick at the Daytona 500. It’s not just because she’s female. It’s also because she has a good shot at winning. In fact, most experts agree that Danica’s gender has little to do with her likelihood to win at all–her only real obstacle will be adjusting to the different racing style at Daytona.
So here’s what bugs us. Even though Danica Patrick is as good at — if not better than — most men at what she does, she’s still somewhat pigeon-holed into being a sex symbol. Sure, everyone wants to feel pretty, but even she admits that it gets old. She told Fox News, “People don’t know how to describe women in a pretty way. Do you call Blake Griffin a sex symbol because he was on the cover of Men’s Health with his shirt off? People just don’t know what to call women who look attractive. The easiest thing to do, that gets the most attention, and that people are familiar with hearing, is ‘sex symbol.’”
Granted, for as much as she dislikes the label, Danica Patrick plays into it on her own: she’s frequently posing in bikinis in photo spreads, and some of her GoDaddy ads feature her fully clothed, but objectify other women. There are ways to embrace being feminine without necessarily showing off the goods, and while she has a role in how she’s portrayed publicly, some editorial decisions are out of her hands. “When I go to the race track I’m all business – I don’t have much make up on, I comb my hair, and what you see is what you get,” she dished to Fox. “With commercials I’m able to tap into my more feminine side and get my make up done – which I love to do. I love being girly, and having both sides keeps me balanced as a person, and keeps me fun.”
We agree that it’s awesome and fun to be girly and cute, but we just wish it didn’t come at the price of obscuring one’s own talent, abilities, and accomplishments. In fact, we really hope Danica Patrick wins the Daytona 500. The more titles she wins, the more likely she’ll be remembered for her speed instead of her swimsuits. Make us proud!
Do you dig racing? Will you watch Danica Patrick at Daytona 500? Are you rooting for anyone else? Tell us everything in the comments!
danica patrick at daytona 500