FanDuel - WFBC

April 20, 2008

Danica Patrick Wins IndyCar Race in Japan: Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history Sunday, taking the Indy Japan 300 when leader Helio Castroneves was forced to pit for fuel in the final laps. The 26-year-old driver won in her 50th IndyCar start. "She's rocketed herself to the top end of the roll call for most successful female racing drivers ever," writes Gemma Briggs. "The last significant victory was probably Michele Mouton's World Rally Championship win ... way back in 1981."

posted by rcade to auto racing at 08:59 AM - 21 comments

So how long will it be before the boys club starts grousing about her weight again? Newsflash boys: She's here to compete. Even though it's a different discipline, hopefully she can aspire to what Shirley Muldowney accomplished at the drag racing level.

posted by Tinman at 10:42 AM on April 20

I was just watching ESPN and they were talking about her. In 50 races, she's had 25 top-10s and 3 top-3s. Not too shabby for a fourth year driver.

posted by jmd82 at 10:48 AM on April 20

Tinman, the IRL recently instituted a minimum car weight (including driver) which nullified Danica's weight advantage. I can't wait to see how all the hot tempers in IRL, Danica included, will do if Paul Tracy gets a ride.

posted by machaus at 10:53 AM on April 20

Helio Castroneves will go down in history, too. He'll never live this one down. ;-) Good for Danica.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:24 AM on April 20

jmd82 - thanks for the reminder. I'd forgotten. Paul Tracy, that would be funny.

posted by Tinman at 12:29 PM on April 20

Holy shit! I always felt the hype around Danica was a bit stupid given she'd never won. Man, good for her. Suck on that Robby Gordon you fat fuck.

posted by Drood at 04:51 PM on April 20

Not to pick a nit, but Helio Castroneves was the only other driver who didn't pit for fuel. Danica passed him on the track three laps from the end. All the other leaders did have to pit for fuel in the last ten laps, but Patrick's and Castroneves' crew chiefs had each top off fuel at the end of the last caution. Excellent fuel conservation strategy finally got Danica her first win.

posted by netbros at 05:40 PM on April 20

So what's your point? Fuel strategy is part of racing. Drivers in series like Indycar and NASCAR roll the dice on fuel strategy. Sometimes it pays off (Danica, Montoya last year in NASCAR). More often than not, it doesn't. A win is a win.

posted by Drood at 10:45 PM on April 20

Drood, I think netbros' point is that there is a factual error in rcade's post.

posted by qbert72 at 01:14 AM on April 21

Does ESPN have something against Patrick, or maybe her new team? There is no mention of her win whatsoever on their front page, not in the list of headlines or even the Auto Racing feature in that rotating feature panel below the main headline. CNNSI had it in their list of links, but it's nowhere to be found on the Worldwide leader. Sort of odd, given that she's always seemed to be something of an ESPN favorite.

posted by Bernreuther at 01:47 AM on April 21

So what's your point? Fuel strategy is part of racing. Actually, yeah. That's exactly what Danica did and from the looks of her victory, it worked. Does ESPN have something against Patrick, or maybe her new team? IMO, I don't think so given that as soon as she won, this was BREAKING NEWS on ESPN so I don't think that they have anything against her or her team at all. They even had a segment about all the women who have competed against men in sports and came out on top. (Sorry about that, just noticed how that sounded)

posted by BornIcon at 07:25 AM on April 21

Does ESPN have something against Patrick, or maybe her new team? Scroll down a little and there's a section about her on the front page: IndyCar: Historic Day

posted by jmd82 at 07:34 AM on April 21

Thanks qbert72. That was my point.

posted by netbros at 09:07 AM on April 21

Yeah, she didn't need this to prove her ability. She's been all around it before this, and the first one is always a bit of an obstacle to get past. It often happens that once you get your first victory, you settle down and find you can do better with less of a monkey on your back and/or a chip on your shoulder (see: Mickelson, Phil). Good on her. I'm glad she won one. Perhaps the snickering will lessen now, though I doubt it'll ever go away. I mean, Tiger Woods still gets racist jokes, fergodsake. It's also a measure of her team and crew that her car was good enough to win. I know that was part of the problem before this year. (I wonder how many drivers on the tour have never won a race? Just curious.)

posted by chicobangs at 12:30 PM on April 21

Sadly, I've already read a couple of stories where the reporter seems to discount her win because it came as a result of fuel strategy. As Drood said earlier, it's a part of racing. How many of Team Penske's wins over the years resulted from correctly calculating how much fuel was needed to make it to the finish? And a few of those races were Indy 500 wins, too. The only thing that bugged me about ESPN's coverage was Jack Arute having the balls to ask her when she'd get another win. I know he was joking, but she didn't deserve to hear that question again while standing in victory lane. Congrats Danica, hopefully the first of many. The girl is a flat-out racer. She made it back to the States in time to get to Long Beach to see the last laps of the LBGP, and she looked so happy, nothing like your first race win to take all that pressure away.

posted by eccsport78 at 04:19 PM on April 21

Hurrah for Danica!! IMO, there are too many in the media who are less interested in reporting, than raising issues that draw attention.... hence a bunch of inappropriate questions and comments by media.

posted by Fly_Piscator at 04:36 PM on April 21

GREAT JOB DANICA !!!!! she is an inspiration to all!!

posted by brandy at 05:00 PM on April 21

The girl is a flat-out racer. She made it back to the States in time to get to Long Beach to see the last laps of the LBGP, and she looked so happy, nothing like your first race win to take all that pressure away. Having seen footage of her karting victories, it'd be nice to see her on more circuits. You know the overhead-view video games where the computer laps you three times in a five lap race? She was a bit like that.

posted by etagloh at 11:01 PM on April 21

Chico: You're right. Almost all racing drivers say the first win is the toughest and it gets a lot easier once you've got it out the way. I've liked Danica for years. I mean she's hot, and she's a pretty good racer. Always wondered if she had it in her to win. Clearly she does, and that pleases me. ANYTHING that gets racing good press wins my vote, even if I'm not a fan of the series she races in. Wonder how long until she gets a test drive in F1? Since you gotta think one of the teams would like the PR at the very least. I'd LOVE to see her run Le Mans one year. Or get her in a team with Sabine at the Nordschleife 24hr!

posted by Drood at 11:17 PM on April 21

Wonder how long until she gets a test drive in F1? F1? Forget F1, NASCAR needs to start making a huge push to entice Danica to head over to where the big boys drive.

posted by BornIcon at 07:52 AM on April 22

Not to pick a nit, but Helio Castroneves was the only other driver who didn't pit for fuel. Danica passed him on the track three laps from the end. Thanks for the correction. I misunderstood the stories I read about the win.

posted by rcade at 09:59 AM on April 22

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