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Rahal - Happy with Danica

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  • Rahal - Happy with Danica

    Patrick, the only woman in the IRL's top series, began the season needing to prove she belonged after a so-so couple of years in the developmental Toyota Atlantic Series, where Patrick generally competed among the top 10 but never won a race.

    It was something of a surprise when Bobby Rahal, a Hall of Fame driver and now co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing, announced the team would field an IndyCar full time for Patrick in 2005.

    ''My instructions to her were very simple,'' Rahal said. ''I told her over and over, the idea was to take care of the car and finish races this year. Seat time was more important than anything for somebody with no experience in these cars. She obviously did more than we expected of her.''

    Patrick, whose only real claim to fame going into the season was a sexy photo layout in 2004 in a men's magazine, said she would follow Rahal's instructions and was determined to reward him for the trust in her.

    The season began badly when Patrick was caught up in a crash in the opener and had a mild concussion. She was able to finish the next two events on the track before suddenly bursting into prominence in Motegi, Japan, by qualifying second, leading 32 laps and finishing fourth.

    The next race, the Indy 500 in May, put her over the top.

    Patrick was among the fastest drivers throughout the nearly monthlong event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She wound up setting records for a female competitor by qualifying fourth, leading the race and finishing fourth.

    That dazzling performance was the highlight of her rookie of the year season, but Patrick suddenly had become a national figure, appearing on talk shows, posing for magazine covers, becoming a crowd favorite whose autograph was more prized than that of any other IRL driver.

    None of it fazed the determined youngster, whose focus on her job - despite the swirl of excitement around her just about every minute she was at a racetrack - seemed unswerving.

    ''I went into the season hoping that I would be rookie of the year, hoping that I would be rookie of the year at Indy, hoping that I would have successes, hoping that I would make progress each and every race,'' Patrick said. ''I feel like that's what I do. So I walk away from the year saying, `Yeah, I did what I hoped, what I potentially expected from the year.'''
    link

  • #2
    What did you expect him to say? He knows how to do politics. Bobby knows what's bets for TG, I mean the IRL.

    Comment


    • #3
      Read this part again:

      ''My instructions to her were very simple,'' Rahal said. ''I told her over and over, the idea was to take care of the car and finish races this year. Seat time was more important than anything for somebody with no experience in these cars. She obviously did more than we expected of her.''
      That seems like a pretty fair assessment.

      Comment


      • #4
        So here's my take on Danica's season.

        She did very well for a rookie and deserved to win ROTY. Here main competitiors couldn't keep their cars off the wall and/or just weren't that fast. Of course, she was the only one with a Honda. Most important, she finished a lot of races. She didn't wreck much. She crashed out at Homestead. She was collected in another's wreck, and it was argued about whether she could have avoided the collision with Ed Carpenter.

        She crashed out in Milwaukee - pretty clear it was her fault, though there were reports of oil on the track. Since Dario had just driven over the oil and though he noticed it, but didn't wreck, and she did, looks like she was not as good as Dario.

        She crashed out at Sonoma - pretty much universal blame was placed on Ryan Briscoe. She crashed out at Fontana, and the Track Forum poll was weighted heavily against Jacque Lazier, not Danica. Since she is very unpopular in Track Forum and such polls are generally popularity contests, I think it means it was not her fault.

        She had 2 top fours and some top tens, finishes a lot of laps, and never crashed in practice. She was on the lead lap more often than not, and managed to lead in a number of races. She even avoided wrecking crash fests like Richmond, and Crashville. She qaulified well, and usually didn't race as well. Not surprising, being fast by yourself is one thing, and developing true "race craft" is another. Experience is the only thing that helps on that score. Now she has a year under her belt and next year will be coming back to every track instead of running them for the first time. I figure she'll improve.

        She did great on interviews, worked a lot harder than any of the rest of the drivers if you consider all the added demands on her time, and manged to avoid saying dumb things very often, if at all.

        So I say she's a great asset to the IRL, and the Indy 500 and looking for great things in the future.

        So I'm happy with her too.
        Randy

        "Danica has earned her equipment and her opportunity. It didn't just materialize out of the air. She earned it one piece at a time, starting at 10 years old." Mark Martin

        "Life does not imitate art. It imitates bad television." Unidentified TV Talking Head.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agre with Jim & Ayrnd, she should be proud of her rookie season, especially with all the hoo-ha that surrounded her.

          Next season, it's put-or-shut-up time. With a year in the big cars and several years in rear engine cars under her belt, if she doesn't get at least a podium or three, you'll start hearing the O-word (overrated), even from the Fanicas, before the year is out.

          Great asset, huh Nyrad?
          "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

          RIP, Dan. You will always be one of my heroes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by sf-indy-fan
            I agre with Jim & Ayrnd, she should be proud of her rookie season, especially with all the hoo-ha that surrounded her.

            Next season, it's put-or-shut-up time. With a year in the big cars and several years in rear engine cars under her belt, if she doesn't get at least a podium or three, you'll start hearing the O-word (overrated), even from the Fanicas, before the year is out.

            Great asset, huh Nyrad?
            I'm not sure winning is that important as we see drivers go most of their careers without winning in the top series. A guy named Cheever comes to mind.

            She will certainly do her career a favor if she can run in the lead pack and as you said get some podium time. Well, I guess the IRL doesn't have the traditional podium but a few more top fives and a few top threes would really ease folk's minds.
            Last edited by Benson477; 10-21-2005, 03:51 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Danica's Final Numbers

              Starts: 17/17
              Highest Starting Position: 1 (Kansas, Kentucky, Chicagoland)
              Highest Finishing Position: 4 (Motegi, Indianapolis)
              Lowest Starting Position: 21 (Richmond)
              Lowest Finishing Position: 20 (Michigan, Infineon)
              Laps Completed: 2850
              Laps Led: 63
              DNFs: 5
              Accident DNFs: 4 (Homestead, Milwaukee, Infineon, California)
              Mechanical DNF: 1 (Michigan)
              Races Completed: 12/17
              Final Points Position: 12

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Powercat
                Danica's Final Numbers

                Starts: 17/17
                Highest Starting Position: 1 (Kansas, Kentucky, Chicagoland)
                Highest Finishing Position: 4 (Motegi, Indianapolis)
                Lowest Starting Position: 21 (Richmond)
                Lowest Finishing Position: 20 (Michigan, Infineon)
                Laps Completed: 2850
                Laps Led: 63
                DNFs: 5
                Accident DNFs: 4 (Homestead, Milwaukee, Infineon, California)
                Mechanical DNF: 1 (Michigan)
                Races Completed: 12/17
                Final Points Position: 12
                Those stats seem pretty respectable for a rookie season. I wonder what the same stats were for DW's and TS's rookie seasons, for comparison.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Benson477
                  I'm not sure winning is that important as we see drivers go most of their careers without winning in the top series. A guy named Cheever comes to mind.
                  You mean the Indy 500 doesn't count as a win?
                  "There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt." John Adams 1826
                  Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
                  www.fairtax.org

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                    Read this part again:



                    That seems like a pretty fair assessment.
                    She's obviously been following those instructions for most of her racing career.
                    Trump, he's one of the nicest, most decent human beings possibly ever to walk the planet..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Danica has perhaps the most secure ride in the history of the IRL. The league would be incredibly insane to cut her loose. Yeah, let's chop off 50% of our attraction. When Sarah Fisher left the league TV ratings tanked (even more) which I argue had a lot to do with Sarah's legions of fans tuning out. Given Danica's results and her babe-ness and ability to attract way more media and drooling men than Sarah, Tony better keep her happy.
                      Humor! www.pressdog.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                        Read this part again:



                        That seems like a pretty fair assessment.
                        I absolutely agree 100%.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Indy-hp
                          Those stats seem pretty respectable for a rookie season. I wonder what the same stats were for DW's and TS's rookie seasons, for comparison.
                          Since you asked ...

                          Dan Wheldon - 2003 (AGR Dallara/Honda)
                          Starts: 14/16
                          Highest Starting Position: 4 (California)
                          Highest Finishing Position: 3 (Texas II)
                          Lowest Starting Position: 16 (Texas II)
                          Lowest Finishing Position: 21 (Kansas)
                          Laps Completed: 2339
                          Laps Led: 33
                          DNFs: 5
                          Accident DNFs: 3 (Indy, Pikes Peak, Kansas)
                          Mechanical DNF: 2 (Michigan, Texas I)
                          Races Completed: 9/16
                          Final Points Position: 11

                          An interesting note I discovered going through the stats on indycar.com, Wheldon's DNF at Indy is listed as "Engine", although I guess the engine doesn't do a whole lot for you if the car is upside down! Perhaps it got flipped with another race he DNFed but I can't remember any of his other DNFs except for Indy and Kansas.

                          Tomas Scheckter (Cheever Dallara/Infiniti)
                          Starts: 12/15 (Was fired after Kentucky)
                          Highest Starting Position: 1 (Texas I, Kansas, Michigan)
                          Highest Finishing Position: 1 (Michigan)
                          Lowest Starting Position: 18 (Richmond)
                          Lowest Finishing Position: 26 (Indy)
                          Lowest Finish outside of Indy: 24 (California, Phoenix)
                          Laps Completed: 1972
                          Laps Led: 443
                          DNFs: 8
                          Accident DNFs: 6 (California, Nazareth, Indy, Kansas, Nashville, Kentucky)
                          Mechanical DNF: 2 (Phoenix, Texas I)
                          Races Completed: 4/12
                          Final Points Position: 14

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Powercat
                            Since you asked ...

                            Dan Wheldon - 2003 (AGR Dallara/Honda)
                            Starts: 14/16
                            Highest Starting Position: 4 (California)
                            Highest Finishing Position: 3 (Texas II)
                            Lowest Starting Position: 16 (Texas II)
                            Lowest Finishing Position: 21 (Kansas)
                            Laps Completed: 2339
                            Laps Led: 33
                            DNFs: 5
                            Accident DNFs: 3 (Indy, Pikes Peak, Kansas)
                            Mechanical DNF: 2 (Michigan, Texas I)
                            Races Completed: 9/16
                            Final Points Position: 11

                            An interesting note I discovered going through the stats on indycar.com, Wheldon's DNF at Indy is listed as "Engine", although I guess the engine doesn't do a whole lot for you if the car is upside down! Perhaps it got flipped with another race he DNFed but I can't remember any of his other DNFs except for Indy and Kansas.

                            Tomas Scheckter (Cheever Dallara/Infiniti)
                            Starts: 12/15 (Was fired after Kentucky)
                            Highest Starting Position: 1 (Texas I, Kansas, Michigan)
                            Highest Finishing Position: 1 (Michigan)
                            Lowest Starting Position: 18 (Richmond)
                            Lowest Finishing Position: 26 (Indy)
                            Lowest Finish outside of Indy: 24 (California, Phoenix)
                            Laps Completed: 1972
                            Laps Led: 443
                            DNFs: 8
                            Accident DNFs: 6 (California, Nazareth, Indy, Kansas, Nashville, Kentucky)
                            Mechanical DNF: 2 (Phoenix, Texas I)
                            Races Completed: 4/12
                            Final Points Position: 14
                            Thanks for doing that. Puts Danica's rookie stats in perspective. Hers still seem pretty respectable to me, similar to DW's. Seems to me she followed her marching orders to bring the car home and get as much seat time as possible, and still did reasonably well. TS had more laps lead and a win, but had more DNFs, completed far fewer laps, and finished lower in points.
                            Last edited by Indy-hp; 10-21-2005, 01:12 PM. Reason: typo

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