This is great news for Danica and the IRL.
Danica won the Japan Indy 300 and deserves it. She is the first woman to win an IndyCar series race. When she started in Indy racing back in 2005 she became the first woman to qualify for the Indy 500 race (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, and Sarah Fisher preceded her). She did very well for her rookie debut, leading the race at times and finishing fourth.
Many wondered if she was just lucky and just a pretty face when her 2006 and 2007 seasons failed to produce any wins, and no podium finishes.
With her win today it will mean that there will be an enormous amount of attention and pressure as the Indy 500 takes place the end of May.
Racing is a demanding sport for both men and women, but has been especially demanding for women. Shirley Muldowney became and NHRA Top Fuel champion three times and suffered through a horrific accident. Janet Guthrie had to deal with there being no women’s bathrooms in Gasoline Alley when she competed.
Some will say that Danica’s win today was only due to the fact that the leaders had to pit for fuel. Well, tough, that’s racing, and if it had been one of the guys that won because of those circumstances it would have been because of their skill and luck. Well Danica worked for the win and deserves it.
Now let’s see how things look at the Indy 500. Maybe Danica Patrick will someday be looked at as the reason the IndyCar Racing League became as big as NASCAR.