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April 20 2008

Glad To See Misogyny Is Alive And Well

Danica Patrick Wins Japan 300Danica Patrick won the Indy Racing League (IRL) Japan 300 race today, making her the first woman to win such a race. A major accomplishment to be sure, and she is to be congratulated, just as any racer should be.

Unless you are Bob Margolis of Yahoo Sports, then it’s just time to show that misogyny is alive and well.

See, Mr. Margolis feels compelled to write a piece about the race entitled “Putting Patrick’s victory in perspective“, because we’re all incapable of doing that ourselves. In his piece he felt compelled to try to educate us that the win had nothing to do with her.

It didn’t happen as the result of a final lap, wheel-to-wheel battle, one that many close observers of the sport feel she will never win.

It instead was more a battle between the race engineer’s computers on the Andretti Green team and that of her rival Helio Castroneves’ Penske Racing team. It was a matter of who would get the best fuel mileage in the final handful of laps of the 200-lap race.

So?

Since when has racing ever not been about the crew, as well as the driver? True, I am not a race fan, but what little I do catch, be it Nascar or IRL, fueling has always been a part of the strategy. When to take a pit stop to fuel up, drafting to conserve fuel, etc, but Mr. Margolis seems to feel this was some sort of sin.

Both drivers had made their final pit stop on Lap 148, and when race leader Scott Dixon was forced onto pit road for a final splash of fuel, it became an opportunity for both Patrick and Castroneves to win – in a fuel mileage battle.

Really, a fuel mileage battle… how shocking! How about instead of bemoaning her win, you point the finger at Mr. Dixon’s crew for not doing their job and mismanaging his fuel?  He was in the lead and he had to pit for fuel… guess his management sucked.

Even Ms. Patrick admits it was a fuel battle in a quote to the media:

“It was a fuel strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me,” said Danica Patrick. “I know I was on the same strategy at Helio (Castroneves) and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn’t believe it. This is fabulous.” She won the race by finishing with 5.8594 seconds ahead Helio Castroneves.

5.8594 seconds seems like a pretty sound win to me, and a factoid that Mr. Margolis chooses not to raise. Instead he prefers to say that Patrick likes to silence her detractors by posing in swimsuits.

Even when he compliments her, he can’t resist making another misogynistic comment.

To her credit, Patrick remains a model for young women everywhere. It may be a model of how persistence, a pretty face and the willingness to take the heat can pay off in the end.

What do her looks have to do with anything? Do you bring up the appearance of the male drivers when they win? “He was persistent, had a well defined chin…”, somehow I don’t think so.

For a sport I don’t even care about, I can’t believe how much this man’s… “writing”… irritated me. (I won’t even start on his abysmal sentence structure) A win is a win, and saying it was somehow less due to fuel management is just a cop out. So, if he can call it as he sees it, so can I… Misogynist pig, table of 1?



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