Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Danica And Diversity Are TV Topics Once Again
This is the link to a Daly Planet column written in December of 2007 addressing the single biggest issue in NASCAR. Before the COT, before drug testing and before bad tires from Goodyear, there was simply "diversity."
Regardless of the circumstances, Danica Patrick has thrown a rock into the pool that will result in a wave of questions surrounding diversity for the drivers at Talladega. Could she win in NASCAR? Would she fit in the new Childress car? Why are there no female drivers in the Cup Series?
How the TV networks will approach this issue as Talladega looms will be interesting. SPEED and ESPN2 have both broached the subject of Danica, including Allen Bestwick raising the issue on Monday's NASCAR Now.
Dave Despain had a nice interview with Danica on Wind Tunnel, who appeared to be as surprised as anyone that she had walked away with the victory. Fuel mileage races are common to both NASCAR and the IRL, but somehow in the IRL the drama is less intense. The extensive electronics, the fuel gauges and the engineers tell a very different story on TV than Chad Knaus simply telling Jimmie Johnson they are going to "go for it."
These days, as NASCAR looks around at the IRL and the NHRA, they find themselves surrounded by a very different breed of star. Ashley Force, Angelle Sampey and Melanie Troxel headline the NHRA series. Troxel has been over 330mph. Minority stars like Antron Brown and JR Todd mix seamlessly into the sport and attract a big fan base.
The IRL now boasts drivers from all over the world, and the Danica Patrick vs. "the boys" rivalry is a dream for newspapers and Internet sites. As David Poole said, this is a time for NASCAR to take a look in the rearview mirror. That "other series" is making some noise and about to head to Indy.
With a full weekend of TV programming being offered by SPEED, ESPN2 and Fox it should be interesting to see what programs bring-up this subject, and how they choose to handle this story and the broader topic. Certainly, RaceDay and Tradin' Paint on SPEED are two programs that come to mind where the issue might be raised. Also, the Hollywood Hotel portion of the Fox telecast during the pre-race. It might be interesting to let DW weigh-in on the subject.
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