The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Man enough to applaud Danica

By John Garces/sports editor

I’m going to start this column with an admission. My name is John, and I’m a Danica Maniac.

Everybody is these days, even if they won’t admit it.

That’s because Patrick became the first female race car driver to win an IndyCar race with a victory in the Indy Japan 300 on April 20 at Twin Ring Motegi, a little track 65 miles away from Tokyo.

She won a race that was postponed a day because of a wet surface around the last turn of the track.

The delay also forced the live broadcast of the race to be shown on ESPN Classic, ironic because the network known for re-broadcasting classic sports games as “Instant Classics” just got one of its own.

To most people (OK, mostly guys), she was nothing more than auto racing’s pretty face, with a perceived lack of ability to back up her good looks.

Think Anna Kournikova, but behind the wheel of a car and not holding a tennis racket.

Except Kournikova has never won anything on the tennis court because her talent never quite exceeded her supermodel good looks.

When Patrick decided to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, many people assumed she was heading down the same road.

But now, after getting her first win in her 50th start, the phenomenon known as Danica Mania is alive and well.

In reality, we all should have seen this coming.

As a rookie in 2005, she became the first female to lead the Indianapolis 500, and led it with seven laps to go before fading to a fourth-place finish. Thus, she proved the talent to win a race against the boys was there.

But we still seem to live in a world where the girls aren’t supposed to be able to hang with the boys, despite much evidence to the contrary.

The only similar history-making accomplishment occurred for women when Annika Sorenstam, who was then at the top of her game and the top female golfer in the world, decided to play a tournament against the men.

All the media turned out to see her play locally at Colonial, and as we all know, she didn’t do all that poorly, actually beating a handful of the guys she was playing against.

That was different, however, because the women have their own league to play in.

In order to be a successful race car driver, Danica Patrick has no other alternative but to try to race against and beat all the men racing against her.

Now that she’s finally driving into Victory Lane, the sports world as we know it has changed forever.

That change can only be a good thing.

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