Monday, June 20

Attack off the track

NASCAR might be 500 miles of left turns, but at least it's NASCAR.

The IRL and F-1 circuits aren't even on the lead lap.

Open-wheel racing has slipped greatly to NASCAR, because it has not generated the personalities.

Enter Danica Patrick.

The 23-year-old phenom put the Indianapolis 500 back on the map this year just by qualifying. She finished fourth, and became the first woman ever to lead the race. No fluke. (Her FHM photo-shoots didn't hurt, either.)

This is just the kind of good publicity that could spark new interest in Indy Racing. When asked if she'd ever jump to Formula-1, she said it would just take a sponsor.

Enter F-1 president Bernie Ecclestone.
"She did a good job, didn't she? Super. Didn't think she'd be able to make it like that," Ecclestone answered to a gathering of reporters.

Before leaving, Ecclestone then offered his thoughts of women joining men on the racetrack.

"You know, I've got one of these wonderful ideas that women should be all dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances," Ecclestone added.

What was he thinking? The split between IRL and F-1 nearly destroyed open-wheel racing, and neither is strong enough to risk stupidity. Is this Ecclestone's way of drafting behind the new leader? Was this just a ploy to remind the sports world that there is in fact another racing organization?

It's not like he had a lot to lose. F-1 carries a more global audience, and that attitude isn't as likely to hurt him.

But still...