Danica Patrick ditches IndyCar for NASCAR

Illustration for article titled Danica Patrick ditches IndyCar for NASCAR

The AP reports that IndyCar driver Danica Patrick's officially ditching the IndyCar series — perceived by many as the "small-time" — for a full-time NASCAR Nationwide gig and a few select Sprint Cup races. But she just can't quit IndyCar completely — as there's still going to be a possible Indy 500 run thrown in the mix.

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Patrick's NASCAR career so far has resulted in no wins in 19 races despite leading briefly at Daytona in July, but she's performed on par with other rookie drivers. Perhaps more importantly, Danica is already the third highest-paid female athlete in the world and NASCAR gives her a larger stage and audience for herself and her potential team JR Motorsports.

All of this is based on anonymous sources but isn't particularly earth-shattering. The biggest remaining question is would she be allowed to run in the Indy 500, where she finished third in 2009, which would mean missing up to three Nationwide races and sacrificing points in the Nationwide championship.

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Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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DISCUSSION

Desu-San-Desu

Alright, I'm going to call myself out on this one.

I'm an asshole.

Yes. I am an asshole. A jerk. A dick. A douchebag. A pig. Any of those will work. Why? Because without even reading past the headline of this article, my initial thought was "Well duh. It's easier to apply makeup in the rearview mirror if you only have to turn left," and I was immediately taken aback with just how horrible of an initial reaction that is. I mean, the woman is an athlete. She may not be making podium finishes, but she's gotten farther in life than I have and she's beating other rookies left and right and hanging steady at "Average".

"Average" for a professional race car driver is nothing to sneeze at. Most of us can only dream of being an 'Average' race car driver. Yet what is my first reaction? To make light of her career and demean her as an athlete and as a person. Why? Because she's a woman.

What the fuck, Desu?

I pride myself on respecting women. A lot of my closest friends are women. In all honesty, the vast majority of my friends in real life are women. I just get along with them better than men, on average. I've spent my entire life with having a mostly female group of friends and that has taught me to be respectful and understanding of them. I always make a point of looking them in the eyes and avoiding stereotypical judgments and encouraging them to better themselves no matter the occupation or hobby.

So now I'm a hypocrite, too. How very un-Jalop of me.

So why in the world was my first reaction to Danica Patrick making what is an admittedly smart career move to make a chauvinistic remark implying that she lacks sufficient driving skills to be a 'real' race car driver because she is a woman? I know I take pride in being a bit of a surreptitious troll at times, but this goes beyond that. This wasn't me trying to make a remark for the sake of causing controversy or getting a sadistic laugh. It was my initial reaction. My first thought. And I'm very ashamed of it.

So I want to apologize to Ms. Patrick. I want to apologize for having the same reaction millions of other people have when they think of you. We've all seen you in the GoDaddy commercials and we've just assumed that's who you are: another scantily clad voluntary bimbo in a television commercial. I, just like so many people, am having trouble seeing past that and seeing you for the athlete you are. Some may say it's your own fault for lowering your personal standards and allowing yourself to be in a GoDaddy commercial, but I know it was a smart career move. Had a man made the same move, it wouldn't be held over his head and influence his public persona so completely the way it has yours. At least not for as long.

I want to apologize for succumbing to the stereotypes of female drivers and not seeing you for the athlete you are. I want to apologize for making light of your accomplishments in life just because I've heard thousands upon thousands of jokes about the fact that you're a woman who 'thinks' she can drive with the 'big boys'. I want to apologize for not realizing I'd been letting those jokes and those stereotypes color my opinion of you. I want to apologize for not according you the same respect I give to all of my close personal female friends.

I want you to know that, financially speaking, you're making a smart career move. Sure, I'd rather see you stick with Indy car racing since I hold a bigger interest in it, and sure, I know some people are just going to see you make this decision and say you're just doing it for the fame and the money 'just like women do', but it's your choice and I'm going to respect it. I know some people are going to see your history of emotional outbursts and say 'Oh she's just being a woman. Must be on the rag' or some idiotic drivel like that, but they don't realize how emotional racing can be. It's hard to be cold and calculating at 120mph and it's a miracle how many professional drivers are just that. In general, it's hard being a race car driver at all and I don't think the wider public realizes that and gives enough respect to those who do race.

As such, I want you to know that when I don't tune in to watch you race, it's not because I don't respect you as an athlete or as a woman.

It's because I fucking hate NASCAR.