Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trailblaizer? Not!

A couple of days ago, Daniel McFadin wrote an article, published online at NBC Sports, claiming that Danica Patrick qualifies for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He did not assert that she will do so before her career is finished, but that she qualifies right now. You know what is coming, right? Of course you do.

Except, for the most part and other than to say it is absurd to claim Hall-of-Fame status for any driver who has never won a NASCAR race, I’m not going to bother. The one point that does need to be addressed is a claim by Steven Cole Smith at that she is a “trailblazer” equal to Wendell Scott.

Wendell Scott was the first person of color to win a NASCAR race, so right off the bat any claim to equality with Wendell Scott is shot down in flames because winning a NASCAR race is something that Danica Patrick has never even come close to doing. On that basis alone I can call bullshit to Smith’s idiotic claim.

Another small point is that Scott was the first man of color to even drive in a NASCAR race. Danica, on the other hand, is a long way from being the first woman to drive in NASCAR. Women, in fact, have been driving in NASCAR races ever since the first one was held, right there on Daytona Beach. Janet Guthrie was competing in NASCAR in 1976, earning rookie honors in that year, and enjoying better results than Danica has accomplished in any year of her entire career.

But the real insult is to apply the word “trailblazer” to both Wendell Scott and Danica Patrick. Wendell Scott came into NASCAR using only his own resources and at a time when athletes of his color were not only unpopular, but were banned outright in many racing venues. Danica Patrick came with truckloads of other people’s money and at a time when the public was fully accepting of, and even enthusiastic about female athletes.

Wendell Scott was a trailblazer. Danica Patrick is merely an opportunist.

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