It's no secret that there are fans frustrated with the over-excessive coverage of Danica Patrick on the major media networks.
So why do they do it? Media networks feel that spreading coverage of Patrick will bring new fans into the sport, while attracting people who may know her from her commercials with Go Daddy.
Also, with her being the first female to sit on the Daytona 500 pole, first to lead laps in the Daytona 500, they feel that they can bring female fans into the sport and inspire them by seeing one of their own gender. This is a theory that works well with young female kids as you see them looking up to her as one of their heroes. If you look at any local short track, young girls pull towards young female drivers so the case of Patrick is only a magnification of this.
As frustrations grow with traditional fans, they feel that she doesn't live up to that hype and is not a good driver. They bash her at each time they get and continue the question the usage. Behind all of this, however, is Ms. Patrick, who is being true to herself and keeping her goals in check.
Let's look at the first two weeks of the season already.
In week one, she won the pole for the Daytona 500. No doubt that caused an increase in the hype, however she kept to her own true words. She knew that it wasn't about her, but the team that had built that car continuing to credit them. Recall Daytona 500 pole qualifying is about the team, not necessary the driver.
In the Budweiser Duel, she was a non-factor. However, that's what everybody expected. The number one goal was to preserve the car so that way she could start the Daytona 500 in the spot she had qualified. That's the goal of any Daytona 500 pole sitter.
When it came to the Daytona 500, she ran up front all day, finishing eighth after following back some positions at the end. Most thought that she'd fall back rather quicker; most thought she'd cause a wreck. She did neither and certainly, that won over more people. She completed her goal of finishing well and knows that going forward, she has to learn how to make that move at the end.
This past weekend at Phoenix International Raceway started off less than stellar as she qualified 40th. Reading through my own facebook and twitter feed, multiple people make jokes about it.
However, as the goal through this piece, look at Ms. Patrick herself. She knew that this year was going to be tough given her lack of experience in full bodied stock cars. That's why she stressed going through this year, continuing to learn each week so she could get better.
Also, short tracks have been a struggle as she has yet to get well at running in close quarters. That's one thing that she wanted to work on. In working at those goals, she wants to finish top 20 each week, and then turn that into top 10 each week. Exactly what you'd expect in a rookie.
Following in her own goals, she continued to get better throughout the whole weekend, giving good feedback to her crew. Before she had the eventual wreck, she had made her way up to 26th. Another pit stop, another adjustment and she could have possibly had her top 20 finish.
However, that wasn't meant to be as we know she wrecked on the front stretch due to a blown tire. Automatically. you hear the no talent rumblings from many fans. Though reality? She wasn't the only one who had a tire problem. The tires were going flat as a result of melted beads due to excessive brake heat. The same thing that happened to her teammate Ryan Newman, twice. Could it be a set-up issue across the two teams? Or as discussed by some with all the tire issues - could it be due to the camber rule change. Certainly had her incident been isolated, you could say it was due to lack of talent. However, it wasn't.
So why is she singled out? Simply - the fact that the media and hype people see doesn't add up to what she is doing.
So instead of getting frustrated with the media coverage and bashing the driver, maybe it's time some fans take a look at her and her goals and see how she is doing in relation to those. And then those frustrations? Don't take them out on her, take them out on the media. E-mail, facebook message and tweet the parties saying you're frustrated. Maybe they'll get an idea and lay off and let her learn at her own pace.
I am a Danica Patrick fan myself (I will admit it right here) and these are just my two cents.