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Danica Patrick’s Pole Position In Daytona Five Hundred Opens The Door For Women Drivers [VIDEO]

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Having been a member of the “Nascar Fan Council” for the past two years, I have been privy to information inside Nascar that was not available to the general public. I have been asked and voiced my opinion to Nascar on just about everything connected with the sport , and am now free to talk about it publicly.

Patrick’s pole position in Sunday’s Daytona 500 race is not only a huge win for Danica and Nascar, but also gives credibility to the fact that women can do amazing things in racing, and assuming their qualified, should have the same opportunity afforded them as their male counterparts. Danica helped open the door for women to race in Nascar period.

Nascar attendance has been down for the past four years. Television ratings have been dropping as well. Many attributed the drop to the economy, among other things, and there is something to be said for that. Personally, I’ve felt one of the main reasons is that Nascar has become stagnant. They desperately needed a shot on in the arm, and when Danica came on board it energized the sport. It brought more women and men into the sport of Nascar racing, and it brought in the dollars too. From a marketing standpoint, she’s a master. Danica knows how to drive a race car, and she drives “clean”, she’s both accepted and liked by her fellow drivers, and with the pole position in this Sunday’s race, I believe she will finally get the respect she deserves.

Will she win the race? Probably not, but that’s not all her fault. The main factor against her is she hasn’t had enough “seat time” (racing experience) to compete at a winning level. My guess is ┬áNascar realized the sooner we get her into Sprint, the more attendance and better ratings we’ll have. I understand business, but I also feel another season in Nationwide would have given her more confidence, and made her a better driver in the long run. Lets face it. It’s pretty tough to compete against Jeff Gordon (4 time Nascar Champion) or Jimmy Johnson (five time Sprint Champion), Tony Stewart or Mark Martin when you’ve only been in the sport a couple years.

This Sunday, thousands will be in the stands, millions will be watching on television, many of them new to the sport of Nascar. We have Danica to thank for that. She did something her fellow driver couldn’t, and she did it with class.

Will she win the race? Probably not. Is she a winner? She most certainly is. Thank you Danica. I’ll be be one of the millions watching..and rooting for you.

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