Tums Fast Relief 500 - October 30, 2011 - Martinsville Speedway

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Danica Patrick's NASCAR Debut

Hi everyone! A few weeks ago, one of our team members wrote a fantastic post about her days racing in the Soap Box Derby.  We liked her story so much, we’ve invited her back to give us more of her insights into racing.  Welcome back Race Girl!  Here are her thoughts on Danica Patrick’s NASCAR debut at the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 this past weekend. Keep checking back for more stories from Race Girl!

Wow, what an exciting day! What started out slow—as I heard from all my relatives up north talking about that white stuff more commonly know as snow—turned into sunshine and blue skies for us.

My husband and I headed to Daytona for Danica Patrick’s first stock car race in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. I have to admit that I had some expectations…expectations of what the crowds would be like to how I would feel when I saw her in her No. 7 Chevrolet Impala. I was not disappointed!

As we waited anxiously for the race to begin, everywhere we went we overheard conversations about Danica. How was she going to do? Would she finish the race? Could she win? As I observed the fans and listened to what they said, I noticed, for the first time in quite a while, more women at the track. They were not wearing Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson shirts, but Danica Patrick Go Daddy shirts.

As we walked through the Sprint Cup drivers’ garages, my husband and I started talking about women drivers in general. It seems so stereotypical for most men to truly say that women do not know how to drive under normal conditions, much less at speeds approaching 200 mph and wind gusts of 30 mph with someone right on your bumper. I reminded my husband that I lived in the Washington D.C. area for many years and that describes a typical day on the beltway! But this is where our conversation started and I found myself quick to defend all women drivers in general. And then the big question…who causes more accidents, men or women? Our marriage may have been saved because over the loud speaker we heard, “Drivers, start your engines!” I was quick to look at him and say “Note the optimal word ‘drivers.’”

It was a slow start with caution flags out on lap 7 sending several drivers to the Infield Care Center. Then a red flag occurred on lap 27. Thankfully, Jill George walked away from what was left of her No. 48 Radon.com Dodge. I have to say the highlight for me was when Danica swapped paint at 200 mph, slid through the grass and saved her Chevrolet from hitting the wall. I found myself shouting “Go Girl” and looked at my husband to say “That’s how a real woman drives.”

Danica Patrick did not win Saturday's ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway, but she kept everyone on their feet and finished a noble 6th in her first race. She will make her Nationwide Series debut in the No. 7 Chevrolet Saturday at Daytona. Meanwhile, I have a debate to finish with my husband on the driving ability of women. Stay tuned….

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