Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s and Danica Patrick's Attitudes Are Complete Opposites

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IMay 30, 2010

MOORESVILLE, NC - DECEMBER 17:  Danica Patrick (L), driver of the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet poses with team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. (R), at JR Motorsports on December 17, 2009 in Mooresville, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

A somewhat out of the ordinary occurrence happened during qualifying for this weekend's Indianapolis 500.

You could almost say that it sent the motorsports world into a state of shock, and by all the comments that were posted on the various websites, who would have ever believed that Danica Patrick would be the center of all the controversy.

Patrick, as we already know is the Indy Racing League's most popular, as well as the series most outspoken driver, along with being the biggest attention magnet wherever she goes.

There are those who say it’s because of Patrick’s fiery personality, along with her extraordinary driving skills that make her the IRL’s most popular driver.

As for the motorsports enthusiast, all you have to do is watch her sultry GoDaddy.com commercials, or check out the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and there you will find the true reason why she is so popular.

Her actions lately have driven circles around what most would call, a driver who has championship capabilities.

On this subject alone the arguments can go either way, with most of the controversy aimed towards the heart of her less then stellar stats she has put up since the beginning of the IRL and the NASCAR season.

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Patrick, who was used to the luxury of having the fans stand behind her no matter what the circumstances were, was given a rude awakening when she climbed out of the car and in a post-qualifying interview played over the track's public address system blamed the car's setup for her problems.

The fans reacted by booing and in a later interview Patrick questioned the fans' reaction, which was something she was not used to.

The next day when Patrick returned to the track, she had a different attitude while explaining to the media why she acted the way she did.

"I was a little emotional yesterday. I was still shaking when I did the interview because we were on a very, very ragged edge out there.”

Maybe her fans may have bought her excuse, but her teammate Tony Kanaan had a different outlook, and he thinks Patrick needs to do a better job holding her emotions in check in the future.

"In racing, besides having a good setup and a good car, I believe that your attitude counts a lot, and she definitely needs to change her attitude.”

This was not the first time that Patrick has let her emotions get the best of her, with one of her most famous episodes coming after a race in 2007 at the Milwaukee mile.

The incident began when Patrick, Dario Franchitti, and Dan Wheldon were battling for position.

Patrick got past Franchitti with no problem and appeared close to passing Wheldon when the two cars came together, sending Patrick's car spinning into the infield grass.

Patrick would eventually finish eighth, and not even that finish would be enough to keep Patrick from exploding after the race.

The postrace conversation between Patrick and Wheldon was pretty one-sided, when an angry Patrick approached Wheldon in the pits, grabbed his arm, voiced her complaint and gave him a light push as she walked away.

Wheldon spoke about the post race confrontation saying that, "She's just feisty. There's a lot of pressure on her because she has not won a race and her teammates are (winning). I think in a situation like that, sometimes you get desperate.”

Patrick has struggled all season with this year being her first driving full-time in IRL, and part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and after looking at her past, it's easy to see that she is not capable of handling the pressures that go along with racing in two series.

Unlike her team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide series, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fans treat him the complete opposite whenever he is not racing up to their expectations.

Excuses along with huge amounts of support are what make Earnhardt a very unique driver, when it comes to the fans showing their displeasure against him.

Look around and compare him to the other drivers in the series who get booed for just about anything from winning a race, to aggressive driving.

Earnhardt can do nothing wrong in the eyes of his fans, and you have to wonder if there will ever come a time when they will grow tired and throw a few boos his way.

Earnhardt and Patrick are two in the same when it comes to popularity in their respective series, and it’s even more ironic that the both of them are nowhere close to achieving what their fans expect of them.

Attitude plays a major role when your season isn't going as planned, and its clear to see how much of an impact the fans will play into this area when you compare the two.

After last weekend's boo fest, it’s obvious the IRL fans are growing tired of Patrick’s unsportsmanlike antics, and their reaction had negativity written all over it.

Unlike Earnhardt, who could probably go winless again this season, but yet his fans will continue to stick by his side.

If Patrick expects to succeed in any of the two series, she needs to think back to her own words and apply them to herself knowing that for every action there will be a reaction: “If you don't think I'm going to remember this, you’re crazy,"'

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