Writer predicts Danica will destroy Champ Car

UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com Just want to respond to "Writer predicts Danica will destroy Champ Car." It's been only 3 days since the Indy 500 and already I'm sick and tired of the Danica mania. I think Bob Kravitz needs to give his head a shake. I have two words for him. Katherine Legge, who by the way won a Toyota Atlantic race in her first try, something Danica Patrick wasn't capable of doing an entire season despite driving a Team Rahal car. Bruce Davidson, Toronto, Canada Dear Bruce, Give the IRL PR machine credit for milking Danica Patrick for all she's worth. Their PR department is large and experienced and they are riding this horse as far as it will take them, even if she hasn't won any races yet. Imagine if and when she does! Mark C. 06/01/05 Danica, playing the role of Joe Namath for the IRL, is going to mean the ultimate demise of the Champ Car circuit. It's this simple: The IRL has Danica. The Champ Car folks do not. End of story. [Editor's Note: Champ Car met with Danica and her parents last year. If they gave her a Champ Car ride she would have been in Champ Car this year. Nothing came of that meeting and now their chief competitor, IRL, is reaping the benefits. With that said, let's see what happens. Sarah Fisher was the IRL's most popular driver too (the IRL likes to make their females drivers poster girls) but ultimately she is going to have to start winning races if she is to become a true sports hero. Never have we seen a sports figure become an overnight sensation and not be a winner. The jury is still out as to whether Ms. Patrick is a true sports/athlete hero or just a driver exploited because of her sex to make headlines for a sport so desperate for any PR/headline it can get.]

Now the real media crush will begin, even as Ungar insists the IRL will not alter its marketing schemes. That might be true, but it won't stop Patrick's people from answering the telephone. Danica is going to mean increased TV ratings.

Danica is going to mean more national media attention. (Check it out: She was on the front page of Sunday morning's New York Post with the sexist headline "She'll start your engine.") Soon enough, she may be trading witty bon mots with Regis and Kelly, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley — that's if the Wrigley folks have recovered from Jeff Gordon — becoming the kind of star, crossover star, this sport so desperately needs.

Patrick got a small taste of the coming media madness Sunday. At the post-race news conference, she was asked nine of every 10 questions, openly uncomfortable at the way the second- and third-place finishers, Vitor Meira and Bryan Herta, were being ignored. Later, she was taken to the fourth floor of the Pagoda, nearly swallowed by the crowd around her, moving on to do a round of TV interviews. As she spoke, still photographers stood outside the TV booth, shooting away.

Remember the time and remember the place. Danica Patrick didn't just make history this day. She changed it. Indy Star

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