Sunday, February 17, 2013

Danica Patrick wins Daytona 500 pole

Congrats to Danica Patrick for winning the pole at the 2013 Daytona 500. After zooming around the track at over 196 MPH, Danica will lead the charge when the green flag is waved next Sunday. Or as Bob Uecker might say, she'll be in the "front row". Also in the front row will be second place qualifier Jeff Gordon, who ran 3 one-hundredths of a second slower than Danica. That's pretty close.

They make a nice combination. After all, how many times do we get to see an event with Wonder Boy and Wonder Girl side by side?  Or, with apologies to Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" of Saturday Night Live fame -- isn't that special?

Maybe the only thing better than that would be if both their cars were sponsored by Wonder Bread. But seeing as how Hostess, who made Wonder Bread, recently went belly-up, that was never going to happen. Too bad, because that also wiped out a couple other potential nicknames for the dynamic duo. No, this has nothing to do with Batman and Robin. Think Hostess. If there are those that consider Jeff Gordon some sort of Twinkie, then how much of a reach is it to dub Danica Patrick a cupcake? Sure, that's dopey, but I'll betcha somewhere Dale Earnhard Sr. would smile at the thought....

Given Danica's short history in NASCAR of not being very competitive, it comes as quite a surprise that she's leading the pack at their biggest race. Or could there be another reason? Evidently, Danica and lesser-known fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse have recently become an "item". Maybe that's got her motor revved up a little bit. That Go Daddy thing might have taken on a whole new meaning behind closed doors. Ya think?

Alas, they'll never make it. She drives a Chevy and Ricky drives a Ford. It's only a matter of time before the bickering starts.

Nevertheless, Danica made history by becoming the first woman to ever win the pole for a NASCAR race. That's a record that can never be broken. What's gone largely unnoticed is Danica seems to have also set a new personal record along the way. At Daytona so far, she's gone all week without wrecking a car -- hers or a bunch of other guys'. And nary a single boot-stomping hissy fit in sight. I'm not sure they keep stats on such things, but that must be SOME kind of record.

Can she actually win the Daytona 500? Sure, if things fall her way. The odds-makers have her as a 15 to 1 shot. Not bad out of a field of 43 cars. A year ago it probably would have been a million to one, so Danica's definitely heading in the right direction. It's a long race, and anything can happen and usually does, but she'll have to find a "buddy" or two on the track to hook up with along the way to be seriously competitive. With all the drafting that goes on, and the other cars push/pulling each other around the track, a car all by itself has ZERO chance of winning. It will be interesting to see who, if anybody, steps up into that role amongst some of the "good ole boys" she'll be racing against. A couple things come into play. First, it would have to be guys with cars amongst the fastest in the field to keep the pace out front. Second, would they be willing to help Danica, and hence themselves? Or would they rather leave Danica out on an island and take their chances elsewhere?  In days of yore, the answer to that would have been obvious. But times have changed and now nobody knows for sure.

Weather permitting, we'll all find out this Sunday.

Whatever happens -- Darrel Waltrip says it best. Boogety, boogety, boogety.

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