Saturday, February 27, 2010

Danica's Last Stand

The media manipulation by Danica Patrick started with a hastily-called press conference in Phoenix, AZ. Most of the NASCAR press corps had just finished attending the Sprint Cup Series post-season banquet in Las Vegas, NV.

Having just returned home, many reporters were essentially caught flat-footed by Patrick. The announcement of her move to NASCAR was made in front of a small group and streamed live on the Go Daddy website. That is how most of the national media saw it.

Supposition began that Patrick was so naive at NASCAR, questions from veteran reporters would expose her inexperience. This format and location allowed things to be done in an environment controlled by the Go Daddy PR team. It worked.

Since the day she said yes to NASCAR, a lot has happened. Her presence forced both ESPN and SPEED to add early coverage of previously non-televised Nationwide Series practice sessions. The focus of the pre-race TV shows also switched to Patrick. But, the real action was taking place away from the racetrack.

After Daytona, Patrick snatched the television limelight from 500 winner Jamie McMurray. While McMurray was whizzing around on the NASCAR jet, Danica began appearing on TV shows now being introduced as "a NASCAR driver."

Ellen, Bonnie Hunt, CNN, CBS Evening News, Chelsea Lately, Jimmy Kimmel, On Air with Ryan Seacrest and Good Day LA were just some of her television appearances. The head-to-head duel was not even close. Patrick won the post-Daytona TV war hands-down.

The curiosity factor about Patrick was at an all time high before California. The anticipation that Patrick would continue her learning curve after a decent Daytona showing had the media abuzz. Instead, it was a difficult day capped by a Kyle Busch style walk-off at the end of the event.

Meanwhile, anticipation was still building for Patrick's third and final appearance of her spring tour. Around Las Vegas, the billboards told the story. The picture above shows what the speedway is selling. It's Danica vs. the boys.

Once Las Vegas is done, Patrick is gone from NASCAR until late June. By that time, there will have been plenty of water under the Nationwide Series bridge. Storylines will have formed, rivalries will be established and the championship contenders pegged. Patrick will not be among them, but don't feel sorry for her.

The real power of Patrick is her brand. Her marketing team is always a step ahead. Click here to see the new NASCAR vs. IRL t-shirts at the Danica racing store. Click here if you are searching for something for that special woman in your life. What's better at the beach this summer than Danica Patrick flip flops?

As we stated after the original NASCAR announcement, how Patrick performed on the track is not the key issue. Starting from scratch, with no previous stock car experience, expectations were going to be media-driven and they certainly were.

The national TV appearances that Patrick's PR team put together for her after Daytona were the key to this whole thing. Patrick made her way through each appearance focusing on one element. That was her personal brand. She was stylish, modern and feminine. No one cared where she finished. NASCAR is simply a convenient platform to reach a brand new audience of consumers.

Finally, the new Danica Patrick perfume from Boston-based company SA Fragrances will be on shelves shortly. Industry experts say it is expected to generate about 10 million dollars in sales this year alone. No idea if it comes with a free Go Daddy t-shirt.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Scott said...

Once Las Vegas is done, Patrick is gone from NASCAR until late June. By that time, there will have been plenty of water under the Nationwide Series bridge. Storylines will have formed, rivalries will be established and the championship contenders pegged.


And just like last year and the year before, nobody will care outside of the hardcore fans of those 2-3 Cup drivers with a chance of winning the title.

Sorry, but the Joe Gibbs Nationwide Invitational series is not interesting to me.

Richard in N.C. said...

Robin Miller has said several times that DP is a talented racer, but there are many talented racers. I wonder whether DP would have had the opportunities she has had if she had not been able to manipulate the media so well to attract sponsors and return value to them. IF she can attract more attention to N-wide, attract new sponsors, and make sponsors and teams more interested in giving a chance to lady drivers, then it seems to me it will be a win win. At the same time, DP cannot control how the media, with its own agenda, covers her.

One of the first times Mike Massaro interviewed DJ at the helipad or airport after a race while EESPN was out of NASCAR DJ was in street clothes. The next time DJ was interviewed in a similar location by Massaro DJ was in a tasteful suede jacket bearing the UPS logo - media manipulation.

Joseph D'Antoni said...

I want to hurl after reading the last couple of paragraphs of this post. The media coverage has been sickening. I hope she never goes to F1, but she'd be quickly exposed there.

If you dropped JJ, KB, or JG in her IRL car, they would quickly hit the front, the inverse is clearly not the case.

Sam said...

Let me be the first to say good riddance to her and I hope she enjoys her battles for 8th spot in a 20 car IRL field.

Actually I'm sorry I even typed this up because I'm involving myself in this overhype machine.

Anonymous said...

At least give Danica credit for coming out and talking with the media eventually. Kyle Busch would never have done that.

longtimeracefan said...

Re: "Danica's Last Stand"

Nice set-up piece. Love the billboard image.

Ms. Patrick is about as naive as a craps dealer on the Vegas strip. The folks at IMG are certainly making the most of this situation and it's truly amazing to watch.

I hope she does well during her hiatus from Nascar, so when she does reappear this summer, things can heat up again.

As for all of her doo-dads and what-nots that are being sold, just think of it as her way of stimulating the economy.

But I doubt it will be her last stand.

Anonymous said...

The media hasn't been manipulated. They have been active partners in her promotion. They are hungry for a new story and a new face, and they went with it full core. They weren't manipulated. It's the story they wanted, and they got it.

bevo said...

I wouldn't call the NASCAR media a challenge for anyone. Since when does anyone From the AP, ESPN, Fox or PRN/MRN ask anything remotely close to a tough question? I think you overestimate the manipulation needed by anyone to roll over the media.

As far as stealing attention away from McMurray I seem to recall seeing him on every thing from regular sports shows to Letterman and that Regis and Kelley show. Seems to me the pothole got more coverage across the board than Danica did.

As for Danica selling a brand how does that make her different than any other driver? The whole sport is built on drivers selling themselves. Know what you call a race car driver that doesn't sell him/her self? Unemployed.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Who cares Danica isn't anything but a show to increase attendance Richard Petty said it best when he said, and I quote, "I just don't think it's a sport for women, and so far, it's proved out. It's really not. It's good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity, it gives them publicity. But as far as being a real true racer, making a living out of it, it's kind of tough."
She wrecked at Daytona and failed to finish and she finished 35th at California. Who knows how she'll do at Las Vegas. All i know is that once Danica is gone the Busch errr Nationwide series will become the fat joke it already is and attendance and TV ratings will be even further in the toilet. Simply put this is just a sideshow.


RichInBuffalo said...

Richard in NC,

Do you wonder the same things about Paul Menard and John Wes Townley? Methinks it's just because DP is not just a woman in the sport, but an attractive woman in a sport that's driven by money and she brings a ton of it to everybody.

As Lyn St.James said on Wind Tunnel Sunday night about Danica getting opportunites other guys don't get, "To me, she’s earned the opportunity to be in that race car and for every guy that gets the opportunity to be in a race car, there are at least 10 or 20 that aren’t given the opportunity. So, it’s really no different when she gets it versus … you know doggone well … I could go down and list the drivers in NASCAR that have never won in the Nationwide, the Truck Series and have never won in Cup, and year in and year out, they’re still in a seat."

Anonymous said...

How many drivers now are chosen solely for their driving ability?

Danica is better than some others at self promotion, but all drivers do it.

This isn't the 60s 70s and maybe into the 80s of NASCAR-all drivers have a large component of "attractiveness".

Would Junior Johnson be chosen to drive a car now? Or Jeff Gordon?

Ken said...

Like many Hollywood celebrities, Danica is famous for being famous. He PR machine has done a great job of pushing her image. Like in Hollywood, the most famous are not necessarily the most talented. If she were less attractive and more modest, her value would be far less and we would not know she existed. People buy looks and image at the expense of talent. In the modern world, a female singer cannot survive if they only have a beautiful singing voice. To be successful, they have to be attractive and be able to dance well enough to perform in music videos.

Anonymous said...

Danica perfume??? Reallllly?

I have the perfect name for it!!!

Call it......."Arogance"

Bray Kroter

JoeS said...

"Know what you call a race car driver that doesn't sell him/her self? Unemployed."

So True!!

Donna DeBoer said...

Finishes matter to me and is the whole point of racing. Since I don't watch her appearances on TV and have no interest in her merch, for me Danica is and has been just another rookie to watch and see how she does. No different than Bayne, Braun, Stenhouse etc (all whom I like better). Right now I have to say her effort is no better or worse than any other open wheeler coming in green. So I will watch to see how she does at LVMS, same as all the other rookies. Its a tricky track so this time, we expect her to wreck, if not on her own than by someone else.

West Coast Diane said...


My memory is a little vague, but I recall reading something about Casey Atwood who was billed as the "next Jeff Gordon". The take was that he didn't work well with the media and sponsors.

Remember the "Gong Show" for potential NASCAR drivers. Spent a lot of time on media/sponsor presentation.

Lynn St. James on Wind Tunnel kept mentioning learning the media/sponsorship aspect as part of her program for aspiring female racers. Hey, Danica was in her program.

Personally, Danica is something new to focus on. I was just as interested in Juan Pablo when he crossed over, and Dario F. Just like other new or upcoming drivers, male or female, that come into NASCAR.

What I will never understand is why people have to be so hateful or vile towards anyone.

Anonymous said...

I compare the Danica fascination to Tiger Woods. People turn in to watch golf if Tiger is playing and now more are tuning in because Danica is involved. Unfortunately, we are now seeing PR can project a certain image of a person. What is Danica really like? Do we really know? No. For now she is bringing more attention to Nascar and that cannot be bad in this economy. But, will any new sponsors be for other deserving drivers or will they only want to be associated with JR Motorsports? I've read that Dale Jr. may drive more in Nationwide if that is what it takes to get sponsors. Where does that leave Bires?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Daly for telling it like it is. Danica and her PR team have played Nascar and the media like a fiddle. Hopefully,after a dozen races where she finishes in the back, the media will tire of her while she continues to cash in with a few gullible sponsors.

diane said...

JD said:"how Patrick performed on the track is not the key issue"

That's good for her becuase at the Indy Car test yesterday she finished 18th out of 20 cars. Maybe her Nascar stuff is effecting her Indy car stuff.

Nan S said...

Here are the ratings from Fontana:
"ESPN2's live telecast of the Feb. 20 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.7, down from the 1.9 rating for last year's race that also aired on ESPN2."

I thought Danica was supposed to save Nascar.

Spider said...

The last time that a Daytona 500 winner was left in a trail of burned rubber was in 1990 when media and NASCAR ignored the win by Derrike Cope. (passed Dale Sr. for the win)
The victory was not in the script as Dale Sr. was leading and ran out of gas. A way to win that was not cool then but now seemed OK.
That's the way it works in NASCAR. You get the call or not.

Anonymous said...

JD , sounds like Danica didn't give you an interview or something . Her manipulation of the media , if in fact it exists , would really only point out how easily the media can be manipulated . The fact that she holds press briefings does not in any way force the media to report it . And as you well know , a story only has legs if the public is interested .
But please explain to me how increased interest in the ARCA and Nationwide races by the media was a bad thing .

Matt said...

Good lord. Last year all the over hype was on Logano. After his first 2 races, he was junk. You all have short memories.

Danica is as much or more of a true racer than most of the Cup Light series ever will be. Look into her background, where she started, how she got there. Some of you are so jealous, can't you see that's what you are? Red faced jealous. Most are probably Jr fans too, and he had proven that HE is the problem with his team. Talk about over hype and merchandising, Jr is the most over-hyped mediocre talent there is.

Danica will do fine. The media won't leave her alone, not now, not later in the season. As long as articles like this and comments like these are out there, the media will continue to hype her up.

Give her time, 2 races is nothing at all. The fact that she finished California is huge. She will get better and be competitive, but it will take time. She knows it, she's said it. Do any of you listen or just gripe all the time?

Unknown said...

Ran out of gas? Man, you are going to get pounded for that one.

Zieke said...

Looks like most of us are right about the boring "follow the leader" racing at Calif. Guess if a media darling like Danica can't save attendance and ratings, nobody can. We'll just have to go to Iowa, or Kentucky instead.

dawg said...

If Ms. Patrick were serious about really racing in NASCAR, she would be honing the necessary skills in ARCA. How long before the backlash becomes a Tsunami? NASCAR, & Ms. Patrick should actually be a pretty good fit. Neither is about racing. Only about money.

Terry said...

When Danica comes back in late June,she will have to qualify on time or go home,based on California speeds,that will be an issue.I don't see the 7 car going to anyone else to keep it up in the owner points when she is racing IRL.

I agree with Scott's post about the Joe Gibbs Toyota Racing Series.

Dannyboy said...

Ken 8:07am -

As for women needing looks to be successful singers: does the name Susan Boyle ring a bell?

diane 10:16am -

You count practice as showing a driver's skill? None of Danica's detractors seem to want to admit her level of talent: Danica Patrick finished 5th in IRL points last year, with FIVE Top 5s and TEN Top 10s in a 17 race schedule. In 2008 she had a WIN and THREE Top 5s. While the IRL isn't Formula 1, that, as they say, ain't exactly chopped liver.

So, puh-leeeze! Let's get some perspective on what we're talking about. She has had typical NASCAR luck in her 3 stock car starts. Nobody should equate media hype as determining how a driver should do in their rookie season. I thought Sam Hornish would rock in stock cars, but it ain't so - yet. Jacques Villeneuve had an even more impressive bio and where is he now?

dwight said...

It's All Good

No matter how I look, I can't find anyone who is losing out here. Danica Patrick obviously is coming out ahead. NASCAR is coming out ahead. Izod Indycar Series is coming out ahead. ARCA came out ahead. ESPN is coming out ahead, and the reason that there is so much hype is because it is helping ESPN, SPEEDTV, etc. The media is driving this because it's good for them.

Media is good for NASCAR. The can't exist without it. Sponsors don't spend all those millions for the fuzzy feeling it gives them. Even all the haters are winning because they have something to hate on, and they are out in force.

Bobby Gerhart didn't even lose out on attention. Twenty percent of all the hype will always be more than one hundred percent of no attention at all.

Bottom line is it's all good. Everyone is winning. It will all settle down when Danica goes back to open wheel. Ratings will be down, attendance will be down, haters will be happy, but she will be back. And in three years, or perhaps less, we'll be able to judge how the racing experiment came out. Meanwhile, all those folks are meeting at the bank.

GinaV24 said...

It's funny, I thought of KyBu too when she walked away from the media after the Cali race. I don't believe that ANY driver can have it both ways. You can't enjoy the coverage when things are going well and act like a spoiled brat when things don't turn out well, that sort of attitude simply doesn't work for me.

Danica may be very successful with her "brand", but this is one consumer who won't buy into it or contribute any $ to it.

I feel bad for Jamie - it was a big moment for him and I hope that he enjoyed it, even if Danica's appearances took some of the focus from him. For the record, I didn't watch or record any of her appearances. She's a part time driver in the nationwide series with a big money sponsor and she's pretty so all that gets her a lot of attention - good for her, I guess.

I have to kind of agree with Scott, the Joe Gibbs Invitational doesn't appeal to me either - it hasn't helped fill the seats and doesn't appear to make more people watch it - I already watch the cup series, I don't need to see them racing against the teams who are trying to compete on a regular basis. I also don't believe that you should be able to run for the championship at the trucks or N'wide level if you've already moved up to the cup series as a regular.

Anonymous said...

Richard in NC said, "So, it’s really no different when she gets it versus … you know doggone well … I could go down and list the drivers in NASCAR that have never won in the Nationwide, the Truck Series and have never won in Cup, and year in and year out, they’re still in a seat."

Well, not quite. The difference is that Danica is in top notch equipment and most of those you could list are in junk.


Richard in N.C. said...

Rich in Buffalo- I was not criticizing DP. I think she deserves credit for being able to attract funding to increase her chance of success. And, yes, Paul Menard might never have had the chance to show what he can do on the track had it not been for his father.

JohnP said...

West Coast Diane Said:

"What I will never understand is why people have to be so hateful or vile towards anyone."

Your right Diane, it's called jealousy. Childish jealousy. She may never be successfull in Nascar, so be it. Thats life. But she tried. Used all the gifts that was given her and tried to succeed. Most of us can't say that in life. As far as comments about Danica saving Nascar. I say rubbish. Nascar better save itself.

Photojosh said...

Danica has racecar skills, she isn't just some hottie picked up out of a modeling agency, anyone who discounts that fact is foolish. Will those skills translate into NASCAR success? Nobody knows.

I will say two things:

1. Anything that brings attention to the trucks or the Nationwide series is fine by me. Some great racing in those two series and a lot of teams/drivers that deserve attention and sponsors.

More media focus means more eyeballs means more deserving drivers getting attention. While I think she is as deserving as anyone of being in that seat, even if you don't believe that, you have to admit that the attention she brings could help the series gain more sponsors and thus give more opportunities to other drivers.

2. I find it quite interesting watching a driver who knows racing, but doesn't know stock cars, learn how to drive them. Sure, it would be just as interesting to listen in on the conversations of any one of a dozen rookie drivers. But the fact is that TV isn't going to let us listen to Parker Kligerman's comments about his car. But with Danica, we get an interesting view into the world of racing that we don't get to see a lot. I find value in that.

In short, I don't see a problem with Danica in Nascar nor her results (or the attention given to them) thus far. I find her offputting as a personality, but I can say that about a good dozen or two of the cup regulars I watch every week. She's in the series, I'll watch it and be happy for the extra coverage and attention the Nationwide series is getting.

Shayne said...

From Mad Mikie at

"And let’s see, just what is Damnica’s record again? A couple of go-kart championships, a second place in a Formula Ford race, and prior to Damnica's fuel mileage win at Motegi, Japan in 2008, the last race Damnica won in a sanctioned competitive series was in a go-kart in Kansas when she was 16. Not to mention the GED she got after dropping out of high school so she could race go-karts. This is nothing against her, but if the lamestream media is going to hype her to high heavens, they need to take a really good look at what she has actually accomplished and not at the hype that’s being generated about her, which they’re a part of."

Anonymous said...

Matt @ 11:01 and Anon @ 10:50 share much of the same sentiment as I do.

There is nothing wrong about DP's (and her press relation group's) manipulation of the media, or the foray into NASCAR.

The media (for any coverage---sports, business, or finances) wants, needs and thrives on manipulation for gainful endeavors just like everyone else.

If it's good for bringing NASCAR (and any racing) into the mainstream more than the ball sports, it's good in my mind.

What's really fun to watch is the driver's and reporters interaction with each other when the driver's are aware of objective reporting versus subjective reporting (and/or criticism).

Photojosh said...

"Not to mention the GED she got after dropping out of high school so she could race go-karts."

Yeah, darn those people who left school early to do their passion. You know, like just about every other olympic athlete.

I don't know, I just don't see the value in trying to use a GED against someone in a racing context. NASCAR was built by many men who had far less education than that.

Anonymous said...

There doesn't seem to be much middle ground with Danica. It seems that she is either over-hyped or bashed into the ground. That's unfortunate.

I think she has been pretty professional, humble and eager to learn through out this process. It's been interesting listening to some of the radio chatter from testing, practices, etc.

This is going to be a tough process for her and she has much to learn. This 3-4 month lay off isn't going to help her at all though.

I'm not a Danica fan but I still hope she ends up doing well in NASCAR. Sure the coverage of her is a bit much but I expected it. Complaining about it isn't going to change anything.

drpep said...

All I want to know is, if she kept her clothes on would we know who she is? Has anyone asked that question?

GinaV24 said...

@dprep - LOL that's a darn good question

maybe Chrissie Wallace should do a swimsuit magazine shoot to see if she would get more sponsorship.

If that is the case though, it truly is a sad statement about the financial deals that get made.

GinaV24 said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm all for any woman with power to brand herself and make tons of money. She can't hurt Nascar, and so far, she's garnered attention for a series that hasn't had much sparkle recently.

Knocking her GED is senseless. High school is a waste of time for a lot of talented kids who know what's next in their lives. I seriously considered letting my daughter (bored to tears in a private prep school with rigorous standards) get her GED so she could start college at 15.

Give her credit for being a media/marketing savy woman.

Darcie said...

Diane, your comment about her Nascar stuff affecting her IRL stuff. Scott Goodyear said the exact same thing a few months ago. He said that whenever a driver attempts to handle two different racing venues, both tend to deteriorate. So it will be interesting to see if she falls from her constant 5th or 6th place in the final standings.

To those who are using the term "jealousy", you need to get a grip. Why is it when you cannot absolutely establish your reasonings for anything, you drop the word jealous. There is nothing for any of us to be jealous about. We have reasons for either supporting or not supporting Ms Patrick, and jealousy has absolutely nothing to do with it. When we site that she has very little in the way of success in racing, we point to concrete examples. Here are a few of them: Sure she won at Motegi, but it was a diluted field (many of the better drivers did not go there) and it was a lucky gamble on fuel mileage. I knock any win that's a fuel mileage one, and not won based on driving skill. She finishes in the points race 5th or lower, in a field of drivers who's talents are questionable at best. There are maybe three or four really talented drivers in the IRL, and the rest are marginal wanna be's. Plus, when you are racing in a very diluted and tiny field, when you have good equipment, you're expected to do well. I just wonder how she would have done had she had to compete with the likes of the Unsers, Andretti, Mears, Sullivan, Sneva, Rutherford, Fittapaldi, Foyt ---the list goes on and on.

As for her marketing, she and her people are genius. BUT, I have to cringe when I hear Kelley Earnhardt extol Danica's role model status for not only her two daughters, but for all young girls. Sorry, but there is no way on earth that I'd want my daughters to look up to any woman who puts herself in near-soft porn commercials, and has photographs taken in a bikini spread eagled on the hood of a car. Sorry, but there are other female athletes who I would rather have my daughters emulate---definitely not Danica Go Daddy.

I'll give Danica one bit of credit. She's tooling around at the back of the pack, learning. Or is she just not that talented that she knows she can't handle Nascar? Who knows? Would she really be taking Saturday drives if she had real talent, considering she's got the best equipment? Is she coming to the realization that her "experience" in IRL gives her absolutely no advantage in Nascar? Do you all honestly think that IF she were so totally talented that she'd be right up there from the get-go trying to win races? We'll see.

Ken said...

Dannyboy said...
Ken 8:07am -

As for women needing looks to be successful singers: does the name Susan Boyle ring a bell?

She had 15 minutes of fame and nothing more. She is not a singing star by anay stretch of your imagination.

GinaV24 said...

@Darcie - great post!

Kenn Fong said...

J.D. and Planeteers,

Thanks for this. Your post and the articulate and mannerly comments here are the reasons I keep reading.

My thoughts:

All of NASCAR is basically showbiz. If a driver who looked like Danny Devito aspired to Cup he'd get cut off way below ARCA because it would be next to impossible to get sponsorship if you weren't at least a little photogenic.

Sure, Danica's Motegi win wasn't proof of her overall superiority in Indycar. But riddle me this: if she's a mediocre driver, by basic logic that would mean there were many other drivers better than her, so why didn't one of them win? Tell me the names of every Indycar driver who would forego the chance to please their sponsors with a win based on fuel-mileage. Hmmm... your silence is deafening.

To those Danica-haters, remember this: A rising tide floats all boats. The increased coverage means more sponsorship, more eyeballs, and higher gate revenue. So long as Danica is serious and sincere about her commitment to learn NASCAR, this has to be good for all concerned; except for those who can't stand to see anyone else get attention besides themselves.

It will be interesting to see what the Danica coverage will be like when she's driven a dozen races and she's no longer a novelty. The news media is like a hungry predator fish: it's drawn to the latest thing that's bright and shiny. Sometimes that bright and shiny thing has hooks in it. In this case, Danica and GoDaddy reeled them in.


Chris from NY said...

J-Mac > Danica.

I've about had it with the media sucking up to her. I'll be glad that we won't have to hear from her until June after this weekend.

Time for the media to find someone else to suck up to.

Nice of Regis and Kelly to have the "Mighty Mac" on their show as opposed to Danica. The few talk shows that had McMurray at least know who's really important.

"Once the green flag drops, the BS stops." Ever since I heard Despain say that recently, I have sworn by it. I don't care about how much sponsors and cameras have sucked up to a driver, I care about what they can do on the track. That said, I may even like Kyle Busch better than Danica, but I'm not a big fan of him either.

Joseph D'Antoni said...

@shayne Thank you. Ms. Patrick has won exactly 1 professional auto race. She's been on the best team in the IRL, (currently the 3rd best team), and is on her best day, a slightly better than average performer.

Sarah Fisher, who doesn't have DPs looks or PR team, had in my opinion, better runs (in crap equipment) in the IRL.

If DP was truly talented, you'd see some flashes of brilliance, after all she's in a top notch car.

To tie this back to ESPN, the coverage of the IRL was like this in 2005, but then it faded, after DP looked more and more like Anna Kournakova (all show, no go)

Richard in N.C. said...

Cotton @ 2:28PM, for the record, not my quote.

In fairness to DP, last year she finished better than everyone in IRL not driving a Penske or Ganassi car, including Tony Kanaan in the same equipment as she had - even though I do believe Tony K is a superior driver to DP.

Like many areas, NASCAR is monkey-see, monkey-do. Maybe if DP can have some reasonable success on and off track in NASCAR that will encourage other teams and sponsors to give other female drivers a chance.

It continues to fascinate me that many (including in the media) seem to want to blame DP for how the media is covering her. I guess the new media mantra is "DP made me do it."

The Loose Wheel said...

The knock of Danica using sexuality to make a buck is interesting considering she was racing LONG before she ever did those kinds of things. She was 2 things at one time, semi-amateur model and race car driver and those things coincided to form her "brand".

In a world of dollars and cents she has enough dollars and enough sense that she's been able to get opportunities while running well enough to keep sponsors happy. The only ones that keep putting Danica in the spotlight is the media. Not Danica. The media wants so desperately to have a story and a successful female driver that they will do what they can to pedal her.

To my next point, the "role model" point, NONE and I mean absolutely NONE of these race car drivers nor professional athletes, nor anyone else earning a high amount of money in their profession should be considered by default to be a role model. Again a fabrication of the media in my opinion. Danica is a race car driver, period. I could honestly care less that she is a woman, takes provocative photos, shoots provocative commercials, etc. I look at her when she is at the track, and listen to the passion in her voice and ability behind the wheel period. If she can do the dance well enough to get sponsor dollars and keep herself in a seat I say good for her. Sorry, but I don't consider GoDaddy to be a porn business, and there are plenty of other "role model" female athletes that have done the exact same photo shoots she has done. So when we are going to be equal opportunity-up-in-arms over all of them, I'll buy that argument. Danica isn't a role model just because she is a woman racer, nor should she not be because she uses her looks to attract sponsors.

The Loose Wheel said...

Its an edgier world where sex isn't so taboo. But I guess in a mostly conservative "old school" type sport that is a problem. I only ask where the fuss is when Carl Edwards is shirtless on a mens health mag? Isn't it the same idea in a way. Using his looks to sell you something? Danica is just held to a different standard because she is a woman and therefore for some reason should be more conservative in her approach.

But the reality is that the blueprint you want has never worked in the past in oval racing. No women have been able to sustain regular rides or success over a long period of time because they simply run out of dollars to keep them in the seat long enough to get the experience to actually become great and realize their potential. Chrissy Wallace hasn't set the world on fire in her limited starts, yet some contend she is more "deserving" of a full-time ride and sponsor? Why? Because she is a Wallace? Because she grew up around stock cars? Maybe Chrissy doesn't have a multi-million dollar company backing her week in and week out, but she does have what Dancia didn't and that's a last name. A well recognized last name that afforded her some opportunities other women didn't have. What made Chrissy so special she got a shake in a truck? I'm not going to pretend to know the whole career path of either of these women though both have won at lower levels and have had limited success at higher levels. That is about the extent of what I can recall offhand.

Danica-mania is a product of the media pure and simple in my eyes and if the media wants to Danica-overload the fans, her success or failure with fans will probably be a direct result of that hype.

I try to stay out of the Danica discussion because it is a no-win argument here or anywhere. If she does well people will contend she used "sex" and her looks to get where she got and that if it wasn't for the tens of millions of dollars of companies putting the best under her she'd be nothing, and if she fails it will be yet another over-hyped, arguably underqualified driver flopping the open-wheel to stock car transition.

What I feel is more important here though is not just Danica's direct success or failure, but what can only be seen at the local level. Are more young girls/women getting involved in racing? Lynn St. James argued that point Sunday on WindTunnel and I agree with it. If you want to get equality, it has to happen at the lowest levels if you expect it to reach the top.

Goodness that was probably long and incomprehensible in parts but thats my 2 cents on the topic.

How about that Bill Weber off to be a magician!?

Joseph D'Antoni said...

I only ask where the fuss is when Carl Edwards is shirtless on a mens health mag? Isn't it the same idea in a way. Using his looks to sell you something?

Carl wins a decent amount of races, and runs at the front.

Tom said...

And in the mother of all ironies on the Danica front, the weather forecast is calling for an 80 percent chance of rain on Saturday.
I'm not 100 percent sure, but I don't think a Nationwlde/Busch race has ever been postponed at Las Vegas...could we be seeing the first?

Darcie said...

David, my whole point in the roll model business was based on Kelley Earnhardt making the express comment that in a world she sees as bereft of women roll models, she sets Danica in that position. I'm sorry, but if this is the best she can find for a roll model, it's a pretty sorry state. And yes, I've made critical comments about other female athletes trying to set their positions by posing in the likes of Playboy and such. Amanda Beard is one such person. She had the audacity to say that she posed nude in Playboy to provide a realistic vision for young girls to see what a woman in athletic shape to look like. Now if that isn't a bunch of BS, I don't know what is. If pre-teen and teen girls are looking at Playboy, we've got a bigger problem.

You obviously haven't seen the internet versions of Danica's Go Daddy commercials, but they are toeing the line of soft porn. And some of the photographs I've seen of her, namely the one where's she's totally spread eagle on the hood of a car, leaving very little to the imagination, was a photo that does not belong in any resume for a woman who wishes to be taken seriously in a male-dominated sport. And as for Carl Edwards and his cover boy photo for Men's Health, I feel the same way---why did he feel the need to do that photo shoot----probably for some narcissistic reason. But like another poster said, at least Carl had cred in Nascar and had won quite a few races before posing half nude.

The Loose Wheel said...

I think it's happened before actually

Richard in N.C. said...

You can complain about a lot of things NASCAR does, but they do have a top notch record of being rainmakers.

Dannyboy said...

Ken February 25, 2010 5:19 PM said about Susan Boyle...

"She had 15 minutes of fame and nothing more. She is not a singing star by anay (sic) stretch of your imagination."

Susan Boyle sold 701,000 copies of her album, 'I Dreamed a Dream,' in the U.S., giving her the best first week sales of 2009 and the best-selling debut album by any woman since SoundScan began tracking in 1991. It's also the biggest debut album by any artist since Snoop Dogg's 'Doggystyle' in 1993.

Columbia Records said that'Dream' has moved 3 million copies around the world in its opening week. The BBC reports her YouTube videos have been viewed 50 million times.

So much for your statement about Boyle. As for the major premise of your post, that Danica is famous for being famous: see the part of my post addressed to diane. The facts, of which you seem to be in short supply, speak for themselves.

Dannyboy said...

When Sarah Fisher broke into Indycars nobody would mistake her for a swimsuit model. Nevertheless it was all they could talk about for the first season or two. When Fisher managed second & third place finishes and the first pole ever by a woman, we all thought her time had come. Then it all went away.

I'm convinced that if Danica had never showed up in anything other than a driving suit she'd still be the talk of the town, just not over the top as it has become. I love when people discount a race win like Danica's Motegi triumph because of something like fuel mileage or rain. As many another driver has pointed out after such wins, "Hey, look whose name is on the check!".

JohnP said...

David said: "I only ask where the fuss is when Carl Edwards is shirtless on a mens health mag?"

BINGO! My thought exactly. Where is the uproar not only from that but with Tony Stewart parading around in a towel with two gorgious women during an Old Spice commercial? Where is the uproar from the Young Guns parading around in towels? Where is the uproar about the contentations about the wording "young guns" in the first place?

No, there isn't any.

Oh, but wait, there male.

Tracy D said...

This has to be the most literate, thinking group of blog-posters on the internet. You guys are a ton of fun to read! Your arguments are cogent, your grammar pretty darned decent,(hey, we can't all be perfect), and a bunch of you have a killer sense of humor.

Keep at it, gang!

Richard in N.C. said...

I continue to find it fascinating hearing the media complain about all the attention they're giving Danica.

The Loose Wheel said...

I like that Byrnes asked her the question about being thought of as just a racer vs. looks and all that. (paraphrasing) And I liked her answer.

Danica has a great personality when you actually get her to cut loose. Pretty good Trackside segment.

Shayne said...

From Mad Mikie at

With the lamestream NA$CAR media continuously going gaga over Damnica, here’s a few facts for all those media types who continuously pound out Damnica propaganda sheets. Sarah Fisher was the first woman to qualify an Indy Car on pole (Kentucky Speedway 2002.) First woman to lead a lap in an Indy Car race (not under a caution, either.) In '05 Sarah ran a 12 race schedule in the Winston West Series for Bill Maropoulos. 4 top 10's, 7 top 15's, 3 DNF's (2 mechanical.)

Let’s try Janet Guthrie in her NA$CAR efforts. In '77 Janet Guthrie raced part time in Winston Cup. 19 starts, 4 top 10's, 4 DNF's (all mechanical). She was also the first female driver to race in the Daytona 500 in 1977. And what else did Janet do? Janet posted two class victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring. In 1977, became 1st woman to race in Indianapolis 500; placed 9th at Indy in 1978. Janet has an engineering degree and tried to be an astronaut in NASA.

And how about Lyn St James? First woman to be named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1992. Lyn St. James held over 30 closed course speed records over a 20 year period. 2-time GTO class winner of the Daytona 24 Hour ('87 & '90.) GTO class winner at the 12 Hours at Sebring ('90.) 62 IMSA GT races with 6 wins, 17 top 5's and 37 top 10's. Only woman to win a IMSA GT race driving solo at Watkins Glen (6 hours.)

Shayne said...

I forgot to count the "ums" on Trackside.

Shayne said...

My apologies...

Mad Mike is from:


Sorry. Both are favorite websites of mine.

Shirley Buttacavoli said...

There is no doubt Danica provides a polished interview. Her PR team is excellent promoting the "product/brand."

However, I question those around her that don't explain, what I consider, necessary facts (i.e. Daytona is a wreck fest, Bires not making the race, etc.).

She's a racecar driver, which the media has decided everyone WANTS to see and hear about 24/7. Personally, I do not. I hope she does well, but I also hope Kenny Wallace does well this weekend at Vegas.

IMO, the only positive Danica has provided the past 3 races is the fact we've been able to watch Nationwide practice. Too bad we've had to watch middle-age men drool all over her.

Dannyboy said...

Well I had to watch trackside on a tape delay due to work. But I had gotten a chance to see what others have said about the show both on Twitter and here. I haven't seen such mis-interpretation since the days when Schrader was on the Inside Winston/Nextel/Mikey show and people actually thought Kenny was seriously dissing MW when he was just poking fun at him the way guys show their affection for each other.

I watched it with my wife (not a Danica fan) and we were both (a) impressed with Danica's handling of some very intimidating personalities, and (b) entertained as all heck by this show, one of the best Tracksides in memory, largely due to DW's hilarious contributions.

DW had us laughing out loud and the others were obviously also having a lot of fun, ESPECIALLY Danica. All the remarks about "dirty old men" and such are just people with nothing better to do. Roll the tape back and watch Danica's demeanor when interacting with them. The pictures speak for themselves.

Of all the things we saw on this show, the most uncomfortable moment was not anything DW said or did, it was when Steve Byrnes asked his "beauty or driver" question that obviously put Danica in a tight spot (although SB's manner and sincerity were obvious it was still an awkward question asked in an awkward situation), and she handled it professionally. That girl is first and foremost a RACER.

My favorite moment: after Danica had mentioned her dream of winning the Indy 500, they asked JPM if he would want to do Indy. Without missing a beat he answered matter-of-factly, "Why? I won it already." And made a checklist motion with his hands. "Been there, done that!" Priceless.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Thanks for your comments. Your opinion is equal to the opinions of anyone else, including me, who chooses to post.

Each of us has the right to view and then offer opinions on NASCAR TV programs.

Keep that in mind next time you post please.


Anonymous said...

Trackside was funny last night but it was also quite awkward at times. I think the guys could have been a tad bit more professional with Danica. I thought she handled everything fairly well, despite that awkwardness.

Montoya was hilarious. I'm starting to like that guy.

Allison B. said...

I like watching Danica race. It's the first time I've watched any Nationwide Race in years, though I'm watching every Cup race every weekend. She's interesting and fun to watch. What I don't like is the misogyny that she inspires in a lot of men. She needs to ditch the sex-sells approach to marketing ... she would do better in the long run without it. Just my $0.02

Damon said...


Danica doesn't need to ditch anything, people need to stop being stupid and just let her race/evalute her on that, being a driver.

Matt said...

drpep are you serious? you posted: "All I want to know is, if she kept her clothes on would we know who she is? Has anyone asked that question?"

Let's see, does the same go for Carl Edwards then with his shirt off magazine cover? He's not the only racing male to do that either, most just are not in Nascar. And they were racers first, the only reason they got to do that, aside from being in excellent physical condition, was the fame they got from being RACERS.

Maybe a better question would be, if she was not an accomplished racer, would she have been in photo shoots in Sports Illustrated or others? I think the answer to that is no, proving she's a racer first and the rest is what anyone would/should do in her position.

Jealousy is an ugly thing boys. Get over it. She's a very good racer, she's smart (get off the GED thing boys or we'll have to talk about Jr's education), and she's friggin hot! Good for her.

Dannyboy said...


I apologize if I crossed the line. won't happen again. I just get a bit tweaked when people having fun with each other is blown all out of proportion to what it was.

I went back and watched the show again. (Couldn't sleep) My original take on it was confirmed. They all were having a lot of fun, and it made for great tv. Anyone notice when old DW got up to talk to Carroll Shelby, it was, "Mr. Shelby" and, "Sir". Nice to see old-fashioned manners on TV.

So, let me ask: If Danica says she really appreciates the manner in which she's been treated by the tv crew and everyone else in NASCAR, why should we presume to think that any boy-girl chemistry is out of line? The day men stop being men is the day women will wish ahd never come.

Though I can't erase Danica's sex appeal when watching her, I'm still so impressed with her intelligent analysis of her challenges. She tells me stuff about driving that few if any other drivers articualte well.

One last point on DW: he is the Terry Bradshaw of NASCAR. An unguided missile at times, but all you have to do is watch the crowd react to him and you know whay he's there.

My favorite moment other than JPM's "Why? I won it" was when DP admitted she went back to the motorhome and instead of combing her hair and putting on makeup she went over setup specs and DW said something like, "This shows you where we're at: she doesn't put on makeup, but WE DO!" You can't script stuff THAT funny ;-)

Dannyboy said...

Matt, 12:54 got it EXACTLY right IMO - if she wasn't a successful and competitive racer, nobody would want her in the SI Swimsuit issue. Just like people mis-describe Anna Kournikova's resume as "nothing but a pinup".

At her peak she was ranked #8 in the world in singles, and the #1 Women's Doubles player who with Martina Hingis won Multiple Grand Slam titles.


"the day women will wish AHD never come" should read "HAD never come".

AND: "few if any other drivers ARTICUALTE well" should read "ARTICULATE well"

Dyslexia of the fingers.

drpep said...

Yes Matt, I am serious. Danica came to most folks attention because an FHM or Maxim magazine layout while still a lower series driver that most people never heard of. After that she became an IRL driver and has continued to wear very little in other magazines plus her Go Daddy ads. Carl Edwards did it once, after he became a winning race car driver.
I stand by my question, if she had not appeared nearly naked in a magazine layout would she have been just another Sarah Fisher or Milka Duno.