Danica Patrick: With Indy 500 Results, Forget the Boo Birds but Do Listen

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIMay 30, 2010

Boo birds and fans, please examine the following evaluation and suggestion for Danica Patrick.

Race fan boo birds and other detractors who claim Patrick should just shut up and win or just shut up, need to remember her sixth place finish in the 2010 Indianapolis 500 during the Memorial Day weekend.

That’s a respectable performance and it means 27 other drivers crossed the brickyard line behind her No. Seven Go Daddy.com race car.

Patrick’s fan experience has been generally an uplifting one for the past five years, but not so last week.

Getting the experience of a booing crowd for comments about the failure of her team to adjust the car properly in qualifying should be a good one for the future. She should learn from it, but not dwell on it. 

Do this Danica. Find Mark Martin as fast as you can. 

Martin is a small guy by every yardstick but a giant by every other measurement. Not only does he garner great respect from fellow competitors on the track for his clean approach to what is by any standard almost always savage driving, he’s also a perennial fan favorite.

Get your PR folks to get as many transcripts of Martin’s press conferences possible and have them select his comments about how he drives and what he says about his team members. 

Also have them include comments about his mentoring of young drivers like Joey Logano. Study them.

Take Logano’s words on that.

“Mark Martin helps me out a lot, even to this day,” Logano said. “Whether it’s a situation between me and another driver or what’s going on with the racetrack. I’ll call him or text him,’ Hey man, what would you do in this situation?’ Or ask him what his car is doing on the racetrack. Just feel him out. Everyone’s got their own opinion and you can’t live by what everyone else tells you to do, but get people’s opinions and then just make your own decision. I feel it doesn’t hurt to ask questions.” 

The next time you are racing in a NASCAR Nationwide race and the Sprint Cup race is at the same track, the suggestion is to take the time to escape the constant entourage and others. 

Maybe tuck your beautiful hair into a hat, grab a camera or two and borrow a photo vest from NASCAR officials. 

With that disguise make your way into the Sprint Cup garage and find Mark Martin’s hauler when he is not on the track. Let his team members know who you are. Make it known that you are there to talk with him about racing and would appreciate a meeting with him. The best guess is, he will spare you some time.

With those precious Martin moments fire every question his way about how he handles himself on and off the track.

Don’t be shy. 

Ask him what he thinks you should do to be successful in NASCAR. Ask him every question you can think of, but be sure to learn everything you can about how he works with his team. Write down the best thoughts or simply record the meeting so you can review it later.

Take his comments and suggestions and incorporate what you believe will work for you too. Obviously not every suggestion or statement will work. No one-size-does-all hat will work in racing. 

After you meet with Mark once, try to do it again in the future. Often.

Should you hear any more boo birds on your chosen path, simply thank them mentally for caring about their sport and keep on going.

The best guess: Smart listening like time spent with Martin will benefit your future.