St. Petersburg Times
Is Danica Patrick overrated as an Indy car driver?

No. It isn't her fault she hasn't won a race.

Brian Sumers: Champion
Don't blame Danica Patrick for not winning a race. Blame her car. And don't blame her for being cute and perky. She can't control that.

Patrick is not likely to win the Indianapolis 500 - or any race this year - unless her car magically becomes 4 or 5 mph faster.

But the IndyCar rookie of the year is not overrated. And she is not a sex object meant to sell tickets.

She is a talented driver racing in inferior equipment who happens to be cute and a positive role model.

Think of her like Larry Brown, the basketball Hall of Famer. A year ago, the coaching genius guided the Pistons to the NBA Finals. This year, his Knicks finished 23-59. Brown's the same crotchety old guy. This time, however, Isaiah Thomas forced him to coach crummy players with bad attitudes.

Though Patrick is a strong driver, she cannot change how her Rahal Letterman car slides into corners, killing her speed. Teammates Buddy Rice and Jeff Simmons have the same problem, and neither has succeeded this year.

Unlike the others, Patrick sometimes gets stuck with the overrated tag, perhaps because she is a woman. And that's not fair.

Yes. She hasn't earned all this attention.

Dawn Klemish: Challenger
In a world where sex sells, I should really only have to say two words: Anna Kournikova. But maybe that's a little harsh, given the fact that Anna actually thought she was the greatest, and Danica readily admits she has a long way to go.

I can see the draw: attractive female destined to be - at the very least - competitive in what is widely known as a male-dominated sport. But when said female fails to live up to the hype around her, even going so far as to average less speed than during her rookie year, does she really need to be the headline story of every single event in which she participates?


All this blown-up attention is doing is making her look bad. It's putting unfair expectations on a racer in a sport that takes years to learn how to control a car and win races - just ask Jeff Gordon. And to be honest, I'm getting a little tired of hearing about Danica's "potential."

Let me know when she does something spectacular, but until then, just like every other professional, she should have to earn her way into the spotlight. The "female racer" angle has been all played out for a while now, so keep her off my front page.


Pick the winner
Each week, the two writers will tackle a new subject. We'll keep a tally on your votes. After five weeks, we'll kick out the loser and bring another writer on board.
Danica Patrick
Read this week's Faceoff then vote: Is Danica Patrick overrated as an Indy car driver?
No (I agree with Brian Sumers)
Yes (I agree with Dawn Klemish)

Last week: Is Russ Springer a hero or an idiot for plunking Barry Bonds?


The tally so far:

Sumers (Idiot): 184
Klemish (Hero): 264


Sumers: 1,099
Klemish: 739


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