Of course I'm kidding with the title of this post, but after watching the coverage of the Indy 500, I'm not sure I'm that far off. I've never watched a race where the broadcast spent so much time concentrating on one driver. It's obvious that ABC and the IRL were rooting big time for Danica Patrick, the 23 year old female rookie who ended up 4th in the race today. They must be very disappointed that she didn't win.
No question she's a talented driver and belongs in the big leagues of IRL racing, but there were 32 other drivers competing and I'm guessing some of them had fans too. It's pretty clear that my earlier assumptions about her importance to the IRL and the ratings on ABC were well founded. Now that the IRL finally has a female competitor that doesn't look like a guy, they sure are doing everything they can to take advantage of the situation.
I had to laugh at one point in the race. On lap 56 during a sequence of green flag pit stops, Patrick became the first women to lead a lap at Indy. Todd Harris, the ABC announcer, proclaimed that she was the first woman in history to "turn the trick". I could almost hear the producer banging his head on the console with that comment. I'm not sure that's the analogy he was going for.
In other news, congratulations to Englishman Dan Wheldon on his first Indy 500 win. I'm sure he ran the whole 500 miles, but given the emphasis on Patrick, I didn't see much of him until the end of the race.