Time for doubters to accept that Danica is for real

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

It’s no secret that I’ve been a Danica Patrick fan for a long time. I found myself defending her driving skills and abilities to her critics long before she transitioned from the IndyCar Series to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and now to the Sprint Cup Series.

After Patrick’s impressive showing last Sunday, Feb. 24, in the Daytona 500, I don’t think she’ll be requiring my services any longer.

It’s evident Patrick does, indeed, have what it takes to compete at the sport’s highest level. Her ability to capture the pole of NASCAR’s biggest race, lead five laps during that race and finish in the eighth spot clearly demonstrate that she’s not a fluke.

To all of her critics, I say it’s time for you to eat your words and show her the respect she’s earned. I’m not suggesting you have to be a Danica fan, all I’m saying is you’ve been consistently wrong by suggesting she doesn’t have any driving talent and the only reason she is where she’s at is because of her good looks. You were wrong then, and you’re still wrong. She can drive, and she’s always been able to.

As a matter of fact, she’s actually getting better. Just like every other driver, she’s had to experience the “learning curve” that is so often referred to by the sport’s analysts. I’d say she’s a pretty quick learner.

Patrick’s showing at Daytona has proven she can “run with the big boys.” Now, it’s time for the big boys, and their fans, to accept that fact.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

From the Feb. 27-March 5, 2013, issue

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