The Memorial Day weekend means lots of things to lots of people, ranging from remembrance of national heroes to  kids overly happy to have a three-day weekend.

Amid the big-picture stuff and the enjoyment factor (picnics, barbecues, etc.), it is also the weekend when the famed Indianapolis 500 auto race is held.

Which has come to mean one very annoying thing in recent years: Too much Danica Patrick jammed in our faces.

It might not seem so overbearing if she had ever won a race of consequence. But she’s in her sixth year now and she still is 500 times more hype than driver.

She’s 28 years old – dang, does that make you feel old? – so she’s no longer the little rookie girl driver that somehow broke into the old guys network. But she still acts like that immature rookie when things don’t go her way.

Spoiled brats eventually grow up, don’t they? (Yeah, maybe not).

Whinica – the name often fits her better than Danica – has been booed loudly at Indy this week after trashing her car – in essence, her team – after a poor qualifying run. She always has an excuse and it seems the racing fans at the hallowed track who adored her just a few years back are now joining the millions of others who are tired of the finger-pointing and the lack of accountability.

Danica’s never the problem with why she never wins. Just ask her.

The fact that Danica Patrick has never won the Indy 500 isn’t the problem in my eyes. There are hundreds of other top-of-the-line drivers who never won that race. Just being in six consecutive Indys – as Danica has – is a pretty solid accomplishment.

It’s an even bigger deal when you factor in how few women could even dream to compete at the level she has.

But you see the comments in recent days from Michael Andretti, her racing boss at Andretti Autosport, and you can see time is ticking on being a half-committed driver. Make or break time is coming soon.

Andretti publicly questioned her commitment to racing and before you ask ‘What took him so long to realize that?’ just imagine the pouty face that sprouted on Danica’s face when she found out about his remarks.

I’m sure you know that Danica doesn’t make much money from racing. She cashes in on endorsements – the prime reason why we’ll be stuck seeing her face over and over during every commercial break all race long. And the Andretti family surely didn’t sign her solely for her racing ability but for the publicity that comes with her being part of the race team with Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan.

Perhaps now is time to remember what Danica often forgets: If there wasn’t auto racing, nobody would care that there is a Danica Patrick roaming this great nation.

If Danica was just another scowling, cranky-faced employee ringing up your purchases at your neighborhood Walgreens, she wouldn’t be posing for photo shoots by suggestively bending over race cars. If she was just another whiny, average-looking secretary who bad mouths her boss in Lubbock, Texas, she wouldn’t be pulling the zipper of her top down in godaddy.com commercials (I’m sure I just made Danica another $100 by mentioning godaddy.com here … oops, make it $200).

And if she was just another Perkins waitress in Florida – aw, scratch that one off the list. Thanks, Tiger Woods.

Danica has always been living under a different set of rules then all the other drivers. They all need to produce on the track to see the cash come rolling in.

I don’t recall seeing any Helio Castroneves commercials on Super Bowl Sunday, do you? Castroneves has won Indy three times, including his emotional victory in last year’s race.

Dario Franchitti has an Indy title on his resume and an even bigger accomplishment in that he married the lovable Ashley Judd. Even that double-double doesn’t make him an endorsement staple.

Now that I think of it, maybe it’s time for the male drives to insist on Title IX in motor sports.

If you want to see a woman win the Indy 500, I have a solution for you: Root for one of the other three women – veteran Sarah Fisher or youngsters Ana Beatriz and Simona De Silvestro.

Actually, perhaps that why Danica went into top Whinica mode after her poor qualifying run: She sees the two female rookies know how to handle a car a bit. Wouldn’t want one of them to finisher higher in Sunday’s race, now would she?

You do recall Danica’s catfight with female driver Milka Duno at a 2008 race, right? Yes, that’s the one where Duno stuffs the towel in Danica’s face.

But no matter how much her act wears thin, Danica is a brand name – one of the few athletes who are readily known by one name – and she will always have endorsement value when she gives up racing.

And judging by the Google search of her name that reveals endless amounts of suggestive photos, it looks like she’s preparing for a new career – cover girl of the “Candy-O” CD if The Cars ever make a remake of the album that included one of the most talked-about covers in music history. (http://image.betamonline.com/sdimages/disk17/153352.jpg)

Actually, judging from the look at Candy-O, Danica’s not fully qualified for the gig. Just as she’s not qualified to enter the winner’s circle at Indy.

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