A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am going to sound like a Chauvinist, but so be it. I think it's great that Danica is going to the IRL and not Champ Car. There has never been a woman who can keep up with the best male drivers. For a woman she is great, but racing is a man's game, whether the women want to admit it or not. The fact of the matter is that just as in Major League Baseball, Football, Soccer, Basketball, etc, women should have their own league. Having a women in the IRL only degrades the sport further. Yes she's cute and yes she can drive faster than me, but she got smoked by Jon Fogarty and Ryan Dalziel this past year in Atlantics, and it's clear Champ Car would be too hard for her. The IRL can make her their poster girl, just like they made Sarah Fisher their poster girl. I emphasize the word 'girl' in a man's sport. I expect the IRL's TV ratings to fall further. Josh Cole, Huntsville, AL
This Indy Star article
reiterates what we already reported – Rahal Letterman Racing will be a three-car team in the Indy Racing League's 2005 season when team officials confirm Buddy Rice, Vitor Meira and newcomer Danica Patrick on Wednesday. Rice will return to defend his Indianapolis 500 victory. Meira drove the final 14 races of 2004 for Bobby Rahal's team, winning the pole at Milwaukee. Patrick will become the third female to compete in the IRL, following Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. The 22-year-old native of Roscoe, Ill., finished third in her 2nd Toyota Atlantics season in 2004. 12/03/04
As we have rumored since August, Rahal Letterman Racing is expected to announce next week that the 22-year-old Roscoe native will drive a full schedule in the Indy Racing League next season, including the Indianapolis 500. "I'm very excited. I've been working toward this my whole life," she said Tuesday from her home in the Phoenix area. "It kind of makes me speechless. It's like 'Wow. It's happening.'" he would be an additional IRL entry for the team, owned by former racer Bobby Rahal and TV personality David Letterman. The team fielded two cars this year, driven by Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice. Both of those drivers will return next season. 08/08/04
It should be noted that Danica Patrick was going to test a Champ Car in March but Champ Car nixed the idea after the team had booked their hotel rooms, airline tickets to test at Sebring and had the engines left over from 2003. Now they don't have engines and so she has no choice but to test an IRL car. It's interesting to note that the test was nixed right after Team Rahal announced they were going to the IRL exclusively. Perhaps to spite Bobby Rahal, Champ Car may have closed the door on any opportunity they would have had to bring Danica Patrick up to Champ Car. However, with that said, until she can beat the likes of Jon Fogarty and Ryan Dalziel, who certainly deserve a shot at Champ Car, another year in a development series like Atlantics or the IRL may help her because moving up to Champ Car is a major step. 08/06/04
Speculation yes, but Danica Patrick will be testing an IRL car later this year, not a Champ Car, and you can bet the IRL would love to find a replacement for Sarah Fisher, who is without sponsorship and, therefore, out of a ride. The team tells us she will race next year where her sponsor, Argent, wants her, and given their big involvement in the IRL now………we're willing to bet she'll be an oval tracker in 2005..