Danica Patrick did not win the Daytona 500, but she did more for her own cause than even she realized. With women still fighting to break into NASCAR, her eighth place finish, even with a five place slide at the end of the race, was impressive. Now, would it have been more impressive had she worked her from the back of the pack? Yeah. However, with all the pressure of racing from the pole on her, she didn’t falter. She kept her cool and made sure to finish at the highest possible place she could.
It’s not like the Daytona 500 winner was some slouch, or some upstart buck either: it is NASCAR’s living legend, Jimmie Johnson, who one analyst has described as “NASCAR’s Michael Jordan,” and as most NBA players would tell you, there is nothing wrong with you if you lose to MJ.
Patrick is notorious for attracting attention for things off of the track. Winning the pole and finishing 8th are positive things she has accomplished on the track; it shows that she is capable and hasn’t fully realized her potential. She received congratulations from many people, even though she felt like she’d underperformed at the end of the race, and it took her a while to grasp that although she didn’t feel it, others truly grasped what she had accomplished.
She didn’t wreck, she kept it together, she finished the race; given her potential, if she can hold that, the skies the limit, and she can break the glass ceiling.