Sunday, May 29, 2005

NASCAR Driver Says Female Phenom Has Unfair Edge

In this AOL news story, Nascar driver Robby Gordon accused Danica Patrick of having an unfair advantage in the Indianapolis 500 due to her small stature and weight. Gordon says that he will not compete in the race again unless the field has been equalized. Gordon says that because Patrick weighs only 100 pounds, she has an advantage in the race due to "the lighter the car, the faster it goes." Patrick is one of the fastest rookie drivers in the qualifying trials. A bobble on the first lap of her qualifying effort kept her from winning the pole, however she will start from the fourth position. This is the best starting position for a woman at Indy. The Indy Racing League estimates that Patrick will gain an advantage of close to 1 mile per hour in speed because of her weight. The Indy Racing League does not consider the weight of the driver in its race specifications, saying the car has to weigh at least 1,525 pounds before fuel and driver are added.

Gordon, that has got to be one of the most sexist and chauvinistic remarks that any sports figure have said. To claim that Patrick has gotten to where she is because of her weight, and not because of her driving skill and aggressiveness is outrageous. It is the most egregious example of reverse discrimination against a woman by a white man. Here is a woman with beauty, brains, and some serious aggressive toughness to have a serious chance of winning the Indy 500--a woman who can beat you due to her skill as a driver--and you don't like it. It is not about her skill as a driver, but it is about her weight. We can't have a woman beat a man in one of the world's most famous auto races. Oh, there have been women racing at Indy, but they've never come this close to taking the title--Janet Guthrie came the closest by finishing ninth in 1978. But no one has burst upon the Indy field as Danica Patrick.

So Gordon, if you want to stay out of the race because of your chauvinistic attitude, then stay out. You don't deserve to race in the Indy 500. I'll certainly be watching the Indy 500 and rooting for Danica Patrick to win.

Danica Patrick almost won the Indy 500. She was able to get into first place with 28 laps to go, but then Dan Wheldon passed her with seven laps to go to win the 500. She finished in fourth place. Either way, she proved that a woman could win the race. Let's hope she comes back to the Brickyard next year to win.

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