FanDuel - WFBC

February 18, 2013

Despite some believing that she's only in NASCAR because she's a "relentless self promoter", Patrick again breaks new ground in the world of auto racing by grabbing the prestigious pole position at the "Super Bowl of NASCAR".

At some point, the backlash because of her commercial appeal and gender will become a quiet drone in the background.

posted by grum@work at 01:08 PM on February 18

Personally, I'd be more disturbed by a quiet drone in the background.

posted by yerfatma at 01:29 PM on February 18

It's going to take a lot of accomplishment for Patrick's self-promotion to fade into the background.

posted by rcade at 01:53 PM on February 18

Well, finally, a female in the pole position, and it does not involve exotic dancing or removal of clothing.

posted by Howard_T at 02:01 PM on February 18

God knows Dale Earnhardt Jr isn't a self-promoter. The only difference with him is all the races he wins....oh, wait. There is no difference.

posted by dyams at 02:14 PM on February 18

I don't even get the relentless self-promoter - it's not like she's Randy Moss out there yelling about how she's the best driver of all time. She's the most marketable driver in the world and is cashing in, but it's not like she's writing checks she can't cash on the track.

posted by dfleming at 02:25 PM on February 18

Face facts. It's because she's a woman. Everything else is bullshit. She's attractive, personable and talented. Give her credit for taking on a man's domain.

posted by dyams at 03:53 PM on February 18

At some point, the backlash because of her commercial appeal and gender will become a quiet drone in the background.

Will that be before or after her "Career Wins" statistic isn't grammatically incorrect?

posted by Etrigan at 03:56 PM on February 18

Well, finally, a female in the pole position, and it does not involve exotic dancing or removal of clothing.

The advertising agency that handles the GoDaddy account just got an idea for a 30 second spot during Super Bowl XLIX.

posted by NerfballPro at 04:13 PM on February 18

And there have never been male athletes who capitalize on looks with sexually suggestive ads? Come on. Some of you guys' knuckles are dragging. Winning pole position on NASCAR's biggest stage, after teams have had the entire off-season to prepare for this week, is a pretty big accomplishment. Even without wins she's someone the sport has to recognize.

posted by dyams at 05:42 PM on February 18

I have no time for Danica AT ALL, mainly due to her association with those Go Daddy scumbags and the way she's given so much TV time at the expense of so many others. (Which is more a condemnation of the fucking broadcasters than Danica herself...)

However I'm legit impressed by her achievement here. Of course it means the coverage of Daytona will be utterly unwatchable now, but well done her for getting the car up there. (I am trying to avoid all innuendo regarding poles...)

posted by Drood at 05:58 PM on February 18

And there have never been male athletes who capitalize on looks with sexually suggestive ads?

GoDaddy is the dumbest high-profile cheesecake ad campaign that's ever been aired during the Super Bowl, and Danica Patrick has been involved in it year after year. It's possible to dislike Patrick for her association to that company without being bothered by her lady parts.

Patrick's pole position is a great achievement regardless of what she's done to her public image. But the allegations of sexism you're throwing out in response to people who have negative opinions of her are BS. Go troll ESPN message boards if you want to yell at knuckle draggers.

posted by rcade at 06:38 PM on February 18

So what you're saying is nobody on this site could EVER have a sexist thought or outlook? Wow, I'm impressed.

posted by dyams at 06:46 PM on February 18

And there have never been male athletes who capitalize on looks with sexually suggestive ads?

I have no use for them, either, if they're style and no substance. How's that for equality...

That said, good for her. It is a major accomplishment, and she deserves any praise and recognition for it that she receives...

posted by MeatSaber at 07:24 PM on February 18

I don't want to get this discussion turned in a completely different direction, it's just that I have heard many people bash Patrick because she's a female infultrating a good ol' boy sport. That's to be expected, unfortunately. Like racism, sexism exists everywhere.

GoDaddy does go a bit overboard with their ads, but they also put a great deal of money behind Patrick, and this is a sport where without big bucks behind you, you'll go nowhere.

posted by dyams at 07:32 PM on February 18

I'm certainly a hypocrite, but these kinds of discussions are better when we concentrate on elucidating what we ourselves feel, rather than telling others what they are saying.

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:42 PM on February 18

Face facts. It's because she's a woman. Everything else is bullshit. She's attractive, personable and talented. Give her credit for taking on a man's domain.

I do give her credit for that, but I also believe that she's on the level of Anna Kournikova. She's not the first female NASCAR driver -- she's not even the first female NASCAR driver to win a pole position. The current crowing over her "accomplishment" is like how commentators in college football talk about "bowl game records."

Yes, there's a backlash against her because she's a woman. But there's also a backlash against her because she's getting largely undeserved press because she generates pageviews. Don't lump all of us in the same backlash.

posted by Etrigan at 08:39 PM on February 18

I do give her credit for that, but I also believe that she's on the level of Anna Kournikova

Patrick won a race at the highest level (Indy Car Japan 300). Kournikova never won an WTA event in her career.

she's not even the first female NASCAR driver to win a pole position.

That's not what the article says:

It was not only the first time a woman had been the fastest qualifier for stock car racing's most prestigious event, but also the only instance of a female driver earning the coveted top qualifying spot for any race in Nascar's top tier series in its 64-year existence.

Is there an example that proves the NY Times wrong?

posted by grum@work at 08:47 PM on February 18

Patrick won a race at the highest level (Indy Car Japan 300). Kournikova never won an WTA event in her career.

She won two Australian Open doubles titles, but I get your drift. Regardless, I'll stick to my comparison. I think that Patrick's notoriety is more because of her looks and her willingness to flaunt them than her ability. The idea that winning one race and one pole position proves that her detractors must be misogynists is ridiculous.

she's not even the first female NASCAR driver to win a pole position.

That's not what the article says:

No, the article says, accurately, that she's the first woman in the Sprint(/Winston) Cup to win a pole position. Shawna Robinson won one in the Busch(/Nationwide) Series.

posted by Etrigan at 09:45 PM on February 18

The advertising agency that handles the GoDaddy account just got an idea for a 30 second spot during Super Bowl XLIX.

If they use it, I'll sue them. I will not settle out of court, and I will call the entire SpoFi membership as my witnesses. With the huge court award we will have the wildest meet-up SpoFi will ever have. Come on, Go Daddy, make our day!

Actually, I'm not too sure the pole at Daytona is all that big an advantage. Aren't the rest of the starting positions determined by the results of the short races? If that is true, I would think that the experience gained with what should be a new ride during the short races would be more useful than having the lead temporarily. I heard that the pole sitter has won something like 9 times.

posted by Howard_T at 10:59 PM on February 18

But there's also a backlash against her because she's getting largely undeserved press because she generates pageviews.

She's not undeserved - she's the latest in a very short series of women who have broken the gender barrier in racing. She also got the press that every Daytona pole position winner gets (national press) with the exception that it includes a bit about how she's the first woman to have done it in the top tier series. Like Michelle Wie, or Manon Rheaume, it will stop being a story when it's not such a rare feat.

Nobody is saying she's the best driver in Nascar. Most people are saying she probably won't win the race. I think the level of hype is appropriate, but arguing that merit should be the driver of marketability is ignoring the fundamental history of marketing, not just in athletics, and blaming Danica for cashing in the way every other athlete does isn't really fair to her. She's just better at it than the rest.

posted by dfleming at 07:24 AM on February 19

She also got the press that every Daytona pole position winner gets (national press)

If you're determined to believe this, I can't stop you, but there are different levels of "national press." One annual line on the ESPN home page and a blurb in USA Today aren't the same thing as the blitz that Patrick has received -- take a look at the "auto racing" topic on this very website and tell me how many Daytona pole stories we've ever run.

posted by Etrigan at 07:44 AM on February 19

Patrick won a race at the highest level (Indy Car Japan 300). Kournikova never won an WTA event in her career.

She did win the Australian Doubles twice. Sure, not a singles even, but that should count for something.

posted by jmd82 at 08:42 AM on February 19

Yes it should, Jmd82. People love the "Kournivoka never won" factoid so much they crap all over doubles. Justice for doubles!

posted by rcade at 09:47 AM on February 19

She did win the Australian Doubles twice. Sure, not a singles even, but that should count for something.

Well, it's doubles, so she gets half a win for each (maybe Hingis carried her). Combined, I guess that counts as a title.

posted by grum@work at 09:59 AM on February 19

Half a win? Does Tom Brady get 1/22nd of a Super Bowl championship?

posted by rcade at 10:38 AM on February 19

1/45th

posted by yerfatma at 10:40 AM on February 19

This is heading toward either the Old Mr. Boston School of Bartending or Home Economics.

Can't figure out which.

Not sure it's fair to compare Kournikova and Patrick, since the Russian was never eligible to enroll in the Angie Harmon TV Character School of Kick Ass Brunette Snarlonomics.

From which NASCAR's First Girlfriend graduated summa cum laude.

posted by beaverboard at 10:47 AM on February 19

3/45ths, to be precise.

posted by Etrigan at 11:08 AM on February 19

One annual line on the ESPN home page and a blurb in USA Today aren't the same thing as the blitz that Patrick has received -- take a look at the "auto racing" topic on this very website and tell me how many Daytona pole stories we've ever run.

Look at the Google News Headlines trends on Daytona 500, Nascar and Danica Patrick. It will be interesting to see what happens post-race to this, but so far, this has not been out of the ordinary in terms of headline coverage. Maybe that changes.

You can look at ESPN today and see one article about Danica winning the pole and one on the overall race dynamics...neither of which are on the front page of the site.

Even still, you can take the example of the last U.S. election - Tammy Baldwin being the first openly gay senator got a lot more press than most other senatorial victories - because the media, and by default the people who read them, like to know when something out of the ordinary occurs.

I mean, you're comparing her to Anna Kournikova, which outside of them both being attractive women makes absolutely zero sense. Anna K competed in women's tennis and stood out in women's tennis because she was the most attractive female (even including her doubles titles, she was by no means the best doubles player) - Danica races exclusively with men, achieved a result, and stands out because she's the ONLY woman in the field. Do you not think that has at least a little intrigue to it that people might be interested in?

posted by dfleming at 11:19 AM on February 19

I mean, you're comparing her to Anna Kournikova, which outside of them both being attractive women makes absolutely zero sense. Anna K competed in women's tennis and stood out in women's tennis because she was the most attractive female (even including her doubles titles, she was by no means the best doubles player

A better comparison would be the previously mentioned Manon Rheaume. There have been lots of other young goalies that played in pre-season NHL games, but I think there was something a little more interesting about Manon's appearance...

There were many other VP candidates before Geraldine Ferraro came along...

Sandra Day O'Connor made headlines for some reason...

posted by grum@work at 11:40 AM on February 19

Danica races exclusively with men, achieved a result, and stands out because she's the ONLY woman in the field. Do you not think that has at least a little intrigue to it that people might be interested in?

Intrigue, yes. But -- again -- grum's framing of "Despite some believing that she's only in NASCAR because she's a 'relentless self promoter'" and "At some point, the backlash because of her commercial appeal and gender will become a quiet drone in the background." throws down the glove that any criticism of her and failure to be Super Excited is sexism and/or anti-pretty-looksism.

What I'm saying is that it's possible for someone to think, "'Achieved a result' doesn't mean she's actually a good driver, nor does it mean that she doesn't get more press because she flaunts her looks."

posted by Etrigan at 01:19 PM on February 19

Patrick is in the same place as any other athlete whose hype is far out of proportion with his or her achievements. This pole position is a step towards balancing the scales. I'd enjoy seeing her winning the race because it would be such a major achievement for women. Having her as one of the top Nascar drivers also would be a great storyline in a sport that needs them.

posted by rcade at 01:41 PM on February 19

What I'm saying is that it's possible for someone to think, "'Achieved a result' doesn't mean she's actually a good driver, nor does it mean that she doesn't get more press because she flaunts her looks."

I don't disagree, but when people isolate Danica from, say, Dale Earnhart Jr. (who's been polled as the most popular driver in NASCAR for 10 years), or a number of other marketable athletes from other sports whose popularity outpaces their performance and insist on tying her particular popularity to other pretty females like Anna Kournikova, there's not a very good case for this being about anything but her gender and how good looking she is.

I'm not trying to say that it's not possible, but plenty of athletes have hype way past their performances, but you chose Anna Kournikova as the most apt comparison. That doesn't convince me you're where you think you are in the argument spectrum.

posted by dfleming at 01:58 PM on February 19

Drood, I never see go daddy commercials except at the superbowl.

posted by Debo270 at 02:20 PM on February 19

grum's framing of "Despite some believing that she's only in NASCAR because she's a 'relentless self promoter'"

My use of quotes around 'relentless self promoter' is because it's a direct quote from a SpoFi poster in a prior discussion about Danica Patrick.

I'm not suggesting all the criticism is sexism, but how many young male drivers get things like this said about them:

We can only hope she will get preggers right away and "retire" to raise their child.

posted by grum@work at 02:22 PM on February 19

I don't disagree, but when people isolate Danica from, say, Dale Earnhart Jr. (who's been polled as the most popular driver in NASCAR for 10 years), or a number of other marketable athletes from other sports whose popularity outpaces their performance and insist on tying her particular popularity to other pretty females like Anna Kournikova, there's not a very good case for this being about anything but her gender and how good looking she is.

Well, yes. Given that I have said over and over again that her popularity is because of her gender and how good looking she is, I agree that this is about her gender and how good looking she is.

I, in particuar, isolate Patrick from Dale Earnhardt Jr. because we never talk about the latter. Is he overhyped in proportion to his actual performance? Absolutely. But he has come up fewer times in SportsFilter's entire history than there are comments in this thread (and half of the time, it's in this exact comparison). He's not overhyped here. He's not even hyped.

I'm not suggesting all the criticism is sexism...

It read that way to me. Or at least that it was all either criticism or looksism.

posted by Etrigan at 02:43 PM on February 19

... how many young male drivers get things like this said about them ...

None, if I was paying attention in biology class.

posted by rcade at 03:31 PM on February 19

but how many young male drivers get things like this said about them

How does that statement apply to all posters here? Is it even from this site?

posted by yerfatma at 04:08 PM on February 19

Yes, and amusingly, steelergirl said it.

posted by Etrigan at 04:21 PM on February 19

Yes, it is from here, ma. I believe I posted it back when she announced she was leaving Indy cars to drive NASCAR full time.

but rcade said it best "Patrick is in the same place as any other athlete whose hype is far out of proportion with his or her achievements"

She is hyped far beyond her abilitiies as a driver, IMHO. She get the bucks and the air time because she is a novelty in a sport that has been losing its "core" fan base for a while now. (as in the bottom line has gotten in the way of "racing"

She won the pole...awesome! But it is where she finishes that matters the most. No one remembers who came in second.

Oh snap! Etrigan outed me why I was typing.

posted by steelergirl at 04:31 PM on February 19

See, you don't type fast enough. Because you're a girl.

posted by Etrigan at 04:45 PM on February 19

No, I don't type fast because I am all gazied up on Vicodin.

I just don't think Danica has the talent that usually goes along with all the hype she gets. Yes, she has made a few flashes in the racing world. I would have liked to seen her come out in kick ass when she started in the IRL in '05.

She hasn't really impressed me all that much. It just seems like no matter what race you are watching you have to hear about Danica Patrick (regardless if she is germane to the topic at hand or not. You know...like hearing about the patriots even though you are watching a hard fought battle between two NFC west teams...it's like they HAVE to talk about them relevant or not.

and by the way, there needs to be more Clay Matthews commercials on TV, you think they could have him do one with Houston's Brooks Reed?

posted by steelergirl at 05:44 PM on February 19

I do give her credit for that, but I also believe that she's on the level of Anna Kournikova.

You also need to account for Patrick competing in the Open division against all comers. Even the greatest Women tennis players of all time would have been very hard pressed to squeeze out a single win on the men's tour. Patrick is competitive against the very best and that's a major accomplishment in itself.

posted by offsides at 05:47 PM on February 19

Patrick is competitive against the very best and that's a major accomplishment in itself.

Is she better than Sara Christian? Janet Guthrie? Shawna Robinson? Patty Moise? Johanna Long? At best, you can make an argument that she might be as good as any of them, but she hasn't yet made it into the top five of female NASCAR drivers by any metric except "Did they ever win a pole at Daytona." She's just the most famous one. To borrow a phrase, she made headlines for some reason...

posted by Etrigan at 06:00 PM on February 19

there needs to be more Clay Matthews commercials on TV

You need to get out of Pittsburgh more often.

posted by yerfatma at 06:05 PM on February 19

But I don't live in Pittsburgh ma, I live in the birth place of the NFL.

posted by steelergirl at 06:34 PM on February 19

But upon googling "birthplace of football" it comes up Pittsburgh. I did not know that. I guess Canton, Ohio is The American Professional Football Association, the forerunner of the NFL, was founded in a Canton car dealership on September 17, 1920.

Guess I need to spend the offseason doing some reading.

posted by steelergirl at 06:42 PM on February 19

Is she better than:

Sara Christian?
7 races over two years.
I can safely say yes, Danica Patrick is better, simply because of her time in IRL and Nationwide.

Janet Guthrie?
33 races over 4 years.
Danica Patrick competed in the same racing league (IRL) and had more races, more podium finishes, more top 10 finishes, and a win.
Yes, I can safely say that Danica Patricks is better.

Shawna Robinson?
8 races in Sprint over 2 years and 61 races in Nationwide over 7 years.
Her best finish in Sprint was 18th.
She had one pole position and one top 10 finish in her 61 Nationwide races.
Danica Patrick also had one pole position and 6 top 10 finishes in her 58 races over 3 years.
I'm going to say that Danica Patrick is better.

Patty Moise?
5 Sprint races over 3 years (no top 10 finishes) and 133 Nationwide races over 12 years (4 top 10s).
Moise has more Nationwide races, but when you factor in Patrick's IRL races (volume as well as performance) as well, then I think I feel confident saying Patrick is better.

Johanna Long?
A contemporary of Patrick's in the Nationwide series, she ran in 20 races last year (zero top 10 finishes).
In direct competition, Patrick had 4 top 10 finishes in 33 races.
While Long is much younger (by 10 years), I feel confident saying that Danica Patrick is better right now.

posted by grum@work at 07:13 PM on February 19

Well, at least you're admitting that there actually were other female NASCAR drivers before Patrick and not calling her the Sandra Day O'Connor of the sport. That's a step.

But back to the point that she's overhyped, is Patrick so much better than all of those other women that they deserve to fade into the background of sports history like Sam Bowie?

posted by Etrigan at 07:49 PM on February 19

Well, at least you're admitting that there actually were other female NASCAR drivers before Patrick and not calling her the Sandra Day O'Connor of the sport. That's a step.

I was implying that she had reached the highest point so far by a woman in the sport. She had won a race in IRL and now the pole position in the highest level of NASCAR. That's ground breaking, much like SDO'C.

But back to the point that she's overhyped, is Patrick so much better than all of those other women that they deserve to fade into the background of sports history like Sam Bowie?

Huh? Who is saying that?

Is anyone suggesting that Ted Rhodes and Calvin Peete "deserve to fade into the background" just because Tiger Woods has done better than them?

It is, however, the case that Ted Rhodes and Calvin Peete aren't as famous or popular as Tiger Woods simply because Woods has matched their accomplishments and expanded on them.

This is not a slight (implied or otherwise) on Rhodes or Peete.

posted by grum@work at 08:13 PM on February 19

Kudos to Danica. Count me among the impressed.

posted by DudeDykstra at 11:49 PM on February 19

I'm not a fan of left-turn-only racing, but I may actually tune this one in.

posted by NoMich at 06:56 AM on February 20

But back to the point that she's overhyped, is Patrick so much better than all of those other women that they deserve to fade into the background of sports history like Sam Bowie?

As someone said earlier, nobody remembers who finishes second. Jackie Robinson was not the first African-american to play pro ball, he was the first to play in the major leagues, and most people forget the handful of guys who played previous to him. I don't think people would remember him any less if he had've hit .220.

Most race fans recognize the other women on various levels but they don't have a problem singling Danica as, currently, the most successful woman out there.

posted by dfleming at 07:06 AM on February 20

It seems Patric has the 'look', godaddy and others are looking for (personally she isn' in my top 10 of cuties)she should bring in the bucks now, retire early, filthy rich, manage your $$ and do as you like.

Good on her for winning the pole, she is now eligible to run what ever they call that Sat. race now.

I've seen Johanna Long race several times here in Pensacola and she has two SnowBall Derby wins once beating Kyle Bush on her way to VL. I believe over time J Long will have a better overall NASCAR career than D Patrick. Just my biased opinion on the local driver.

posted by Folkways at 08:06 PM on February 20

Whether you're male or female, the glory is on the track, and the sweat is in the lane.

posted by beaverboard at 06:44 PM on February 21

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