Racing star Danica Patrick created a media frenzy recently, by stepping out of sleek open-wheel cars between seasons and into bulky stock cars at races in Daytona and Fontana. The difference is said to be like comparing a rocket to a taxi, but Patrick has to learn the many nuances of the tricky car if she is to succeed in NASCAR.
Patrick races cars skillfully, but she also has beautiful long hair that adorns a very pretty face. That combination can produce overwhelming attention, so are there too many folks in her silken hair?
After a disappointing 31st place run on the two mile Auto Club Speedway track recently, Patrick was upset. But she is a competitor and after race emotions of that nature are common to winners. Still, the media swarmed her hauler to get her post-race words.
Media also question other drivers about Patrick. While NASCAR guys are probably tired of answering Danica questions at this point, when Tony Stewart was asked if drivers thought Danica was getting too much attention, he made a crisp point.
“No, we don’t think so, it’s just that you guys keep pestering us about her gets to be too much,” Stewart said. “After a while you wonder how much you can talk about the same topic and we haven’t even gotten her to her first regular race and we’re still talking about the same stuff."
"Our opinion about her hasn’t changed, I still think she has an extremely high amount of talent. I think that if the media will give her enough room to learn and not beg the daylights out of her where she can’t breathe, I think she’ll be fine. That opinion from last week to this week, it really hasn’t changed.”
Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. talked about the media frenzy before the season commenced.
“I’ve been on that side of the fence in the Dale Jr. saga,” Eury Said. “I know how the media goes. I know how the people are. I think I kind of fit the role for her right now. Give her a little bit of space. Help tutor her on what she needs to know. What to stay away from. That sort of thing. These drivers can get used up doing extra activities and stuff.”
At Daytona International Speedway, in front of a packed media room, Patrick discussed her thoughts on all the attention put upon her by the media.
“This is definitely by far the biggest room of media I've been in,” Patrick said. “But once you get to a certain point, you know, a little more is not as dramatic. I mean, if it was a room of a few of you, and then all of a sudden it was this, it would be a little bit more intimidating. I've been lucky to be in these situations.”
She doesn’t indicate that the frenzy is overwhelming. After the media session, an alert and abundant staff of PR folks and security then followed her to protect her from interference. In the garage, the stall reserved for her Go Daddy car is protected, too. Photographers and others are kept at a distance across the fire lane where cars enter and exit.
Patrick understands she has work to do.
“If I spent all my time trying to prove to everybody I could drive a race car, I would be out of energy,” Patrick said. “All I really need to do is keep my team happy, keep my crew chief happy, and keep myself happy, know that I'm pushing a limit. Hey, you know, I'm new, some stuff is going to be tough, I'm not going to come up to speed as quickly.
“As long as I'm progressing, I think that's all I can really use as a barometer as to whether I'm getting better or not or I can drive.”
It’s doubtful that Patrick will be pulling any of that abundant hair out any time soon. As for too many people in her long locks, it seems as long as most are kept at a distance, she won’t be having many bad hair days.