Dear NASCAR Fans, this is who Danica Patrick is.
I get it, you didn’t really watch Indycar, and you didn’t know much about Danica before she made her transition to NASCAR, but having watched her entire Indycar career please believe me when I say this is who Danica Patrick is.
During last weekend’s STP 400 she apparently threatened to “Take Out” David Gilliland. Yeah, I get it, NASCAR cars are basically tanks on wheels and probably safer on ovals than Indycar, but for someone to come out of an open wheel background to make those sort of threats, and not get penalized for them, is a bit surprising. Her last IZOD Indycar race was the IZOD World Championship where Dan Wheldon was killed in stunning multi-car pileup. That and what happened to Denny Hamlin makes it surprising that she’d willingly wreck someone. Well, it would be surprising if I hadn’t watched every Indycar start Danica Patrick ever made.
When Danica entered NASCAR she had this sort of feisty, “Treat me as you would a man” reputation that, in my opinion, she didn’t really deserve. For those you who didn’t follow Indycar she rarely took blame for anything, blaming the car, other drivers and occasionally the weather for her lack of results. She got into needless feuds, like a pit-side shouting match with Milka Duno at Mid-Ohio in 2008. After Milka chop blocked her in practice Danica left her car, walked down the pit lane and got into a confrontation with her, and cameras caught every word too. One of her better quips was, “It’s not my fault that you’re slow.”
For the record, I agree with Danica that Milka was a rolling chicane, but Milka was probably right when she accused Danica of liking making a show of herself.
Earlier in 2008 she famously walked down Pit Road to confront Ryan Briscoe after the two have an on-track altercation that ended her day. She looked ready for a fight, or, if nothing else wanted to draw attention to herself.
In 2010 she shifted the blame on her poor Indy 500 qualifying effort to her crew and the Pole Day crowd booed her, probably because they were so tired of hearing her say it wasn’t her fault. By that time her Andretti Autosport teammate Tony Kanaan had enough of her behavior and news of a feud between two of the sports more popular drivers went public.
Now I’ve never met Danica Patrick, and it’s possible that these outbursts aren’t who she is, and she’s really a great person, but as a fan I didn’t like her. I’m not surprised that her behavior has continued in NASCAR, although I am a bit surprised that NASCAR hasn’t fined Danica for the number of times she’s either tried to, or threatened to, wreck another driver.
So NASCAR fans, you apparently wanted Danica. I hope you enjoy her, cause I don’t think anyone in Indycar is missing her. I can’t really blame Gilliland for telling Danica what should be obvious at this point in her career. If she wants to continue to make racing her profession at some point her on track results will have to overshadow her off track persona, and that’s something she has yet to accomplish. Talking less and focusing more on her driving is probably sound advice.