Sunday, April 20, 2008

Danica Makes History in Japan!

LPGA player Natalie Gulbis probably knows very well what Danica Patrick had to endure in not winning a single one of her first 49 IndyCar starts. Like Danica, Natalie had a lot of success prior to turning pro, winning lots of events growing up and coming close to winning many times as a pro - even losing an event in a playoff in 2006. Until yesterday, Danica's highest finish also had been a runner-up. On July 29th of last year, after six years of playing on the women's golf tour and being more known for her stunning looks than her playing ability, Natalie finally got the monkey off her back and won the Evian Masters in France for her first LPGA tour title. So effectively ever since that day, the monkey has resided squarely on Danica's back. When would the female auto racer known better for her good looks than racing prowess finally break through? Well, that day turned out to be today!

Ironically, Danica followed Natalie's lead and took her first IndyCar series win off of American soil as well. Using a fuel conservation strategy, Danica managed to hang in the top 10 of the Japan 300 throughout, but didn't lead anytime during the first 197 laps. Just 11 laps from the finish she sat in 8th place. Helio Castroneves took the lead on lap 196 after Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon had to pit. Danica then took the lead from Castroneves on lap 198 with a pass on the outside and then pulled away for a victory margin that nearly ended up being nearly six seconds at the conclusion of the 200 lap event.

Congratulations to Danica on breaking through and getting a very well deserved first win! Hopefully, this will be the first of many and it will finally put a stop once and for all to the unwarrented comparisons Danica was getting to a certain tennis player who never won a single event and was rarely competitive.. After yesterday, perhaps the monkey can make it's rightful return to Anaheim where the Los Angeles Angels baseball team can make some good use of it! :)


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