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IRR unearthed some highly disparaging comments Carpenter made about the female phenom when they were erstwhile competitors in the Indy Racing League.
By now everyone’s heard that Danica has landed at Ed Carpenter Racing for her swan song 500 in May. Lots and lots of niceties have been written about Danica‘s long overdue departure from motor racing, mostly centering on her solitary win at Japan in 2008 and more recently her accidental “slip” team reveal regarding Indy. Oopsie daisy!
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None of the innumerable articles written recently dared to mention this beauty we came across in our exhaustive research, though. The quote is from July 2006 and sprang forth fully formed from the mouth of Danica’s new owner, Ed Carpenter. It was in response to a question about her potential in NASCAR, still years in the future at that point.
“I mean, you know, especially if you catch her at the right time of the month she might be trading plenty of paint out there. But I think she’ll hold her own.”
Wow. If a certain president – hell, what are we saying? – if any guy of any fame or notoriety (read: wealth) were to say that about a woman in today’s atmosphere, the outcry would be heard clear to the Outer Hebrides. It’s a stark sign of just how drastically things have changed in the intervening twelve years. The classy way in which she handled it redounds to Patrick’s undying credit, laughing it off as “a good joke” and calling it “funny.” Even more remarkably, she went on to refer to it as “no big deal.” That’s forbearance.
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The second, less sexist part of Ed’s quote is interesting, as well. Has she really held her own in NASCAR, as he asserted she would? Her record doesn’t seem to support that statement. Nevertheless, Ed now believes she deserves a ride at Indy with his team. But why ECR?
Most other teams – if they were ever under consideration – quickly bowed out. These include obvious options like her old employers AA and RLL – imagine Letterman and Danica sharing a pit box together in May – and less likely pairings such as Ganassi. With few options remaining and the series heavily invested – “she’ll be bigger than Alonso!” – apparently somebody had to take her on.
It’s really no surprise the team with the most substantial connections to the Speedway is where she finally wound up. Ed’s step dad Tony George chairs the board at IMS. To paraphrase Shakespeare, racing makes strange bedfellows.
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