Danica Patrick winning the poll for the 2013 Daytona 500 has so much more impact that just her starting the race at the front of the pack. She is a verified American sex symbol. She is the only big-name female in a male-dominated sport. Impressionable girls coast-to-coast want to be her, and teenage boys (and yes, even adult men) want to date her. Danica is fresh off the heels of a divorce, and we can’t forget those GoDaddy.com commercials that have absolutely nothing to do with NASCAR or what she is trying to accomplish as a professional athlete.
Ask most Americans how successful Patrick has been throughout her NASCAR career, the likely answer is one of the top drivers in the sport. The reality is she has one win in her well-publicized career. The fact that she took the poll at the Super Bowl of NASCAR racing this past week morphs that single victory. Americans do not care. She is however, the first women to win the poll at the Daytona 500. She is the first female to even remotely come close to winning the poll. This accomplishment further pushes the barriers of the old adage that girls simply aren’t as good as boys. Danica is playing in the good ol’ boys club, the same requirements as any of her male counterparts, competing and beating the Earnhardts, the Gordons, and the Stewarts-the mainstays of the sport.
Danica Patrick will never stick her finger in someone’s face and proclaim she is doing this for women’s rights. She will never admit that she is one of the most desirable women athletes/celebrities in America today. Whether she likes it or not, she is all of the above: trailblazer, beautiful face, and a symbol of hope to young women and girls everywhere.