“Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing boys!”
Racing legend Darrell Waltrip signals the green flag each race with those now-famous seven words.
Viewers of this year’s Daytona 500 did not hear those exact words, though. Instead, this year Waltrip simply said, “Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s just go racing.” He couldn’t say boys. After all, the main talk of the race was the woman who was competing.
Sunday, Feb. 24 was historic for NASCAR and women in sports. For the first time in Daytona 500 history, a woman led the race under the green flag (five laps in total). Also for the first time in Daytona 500 history, a woman finished in the top 10. For the first time in any Sprint Cup race, a woman managed to secure the coveted pole position.
Danica Patrick made waves at the Daytona 500. But the first-woman stats did not impress her as much as the ones that ranked her among the men.
“I think a stat that I found more interesting is only 13 people, including me now, have led Indy and Daytona. I thought that was a much cooler stat for me,” said Patrick, who in 2005 became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500. “I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl.”
And she was the fastest driver going into the race, recording a speed of 196.434 miles per hour, which allowed her to secure the pole position.
Many said she had no chance at winning, but even up until the last lap she was a top contender, staying in the top 10 for most of the 200-lap race.
So what does this all mean? That Patrick broke down all barriers and that girls will be playing in the NFL next season? Probably not. But Patrick is definitely a role model to all female athletes.
And, if nothing else, Danica Patrick proved herself. She proved that she is good. She proved that she is not a woman racing, but “just another racer.” She also proved that “just another racer” could be a woman.