Female drivers are tough, man. Shirley Muldowney's nitro-fuel dragster once had a front tire blow in Montreal and she broke both legs when it crashed. If you go to Shirley's website, the autographed items you can purchase include her fire suits.
It isn't as if Daytona hasn't seen any estrogen along with all that testosterone. (No, these are not new products from Pennzoil.) As far back as 1977, a true trailblazer, Janet Guthrie, drove in the 500. She finished ahead of Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Ricky Rudd, Salt Walther, Richard Petty -- not bad.
So she never won it. Big flamin' deal.
You think it's easy to race WITH the best, much less beat them, hey, let's see you try it.
Daytona 500s attract the best drivers in the business. It is the Super Bowl of its sport. It has given its fans countless thrills, ever since Lee Petty (daddy of Richard) sped to the checkered flag in his Olds simultaneously with Johnny Beauchamp's T-Bird in a photo finish that required three days to sort out.
(Petty won and was handed a nice $19,000, if you'll pardon the expression, purse.)
Oh, the great competitors we have seen, from "Fireball" Roberts to "Tiny" Lund, from the coincidental Yarborough (Cale) vs. Yarbrough (LeeRoy) clash of 1968, from the climactic spinout of '76 when Pearson was able to get his Mercury to crawl and sputter across the finish line.
What a blast it was in 1989 to see Darrell Waltrip finally win at Daytona on his 17th try -- and on fumes, with a fuel tank that was very definitely on E.
What a pleasure to see the superpopular, bizarrely doomed Dale Earnhardt take the checkered flag there in '98 after two decades of being a Daytona also-ran. To win on the same track where in 2001 he would die. On the same track where in 2004 the same race would be won by his son.
Legends and lore are what it's all about at the Daytona 500.
So I wouldn't mind this one becoming the Danica 500.
Floor it, lady.
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