This is a special night before the 500 Op-Ed, about the 2011 Indianapolis 500. I sadly will not be at IMS for the race this year, ask any blogger how much the track loved us in 2011. So I like many of you reading this will be forced to watch on ABC. Although I have XM and can listen to IMS radio to avoid Marty Reid making me put a golf wedge into the TV.
Here are some thoughts about this year’s race, very unlikely thoughts for some. Women have totally been ignored this year. Simona had what might had been one of the most amazing stories of last weekend. Yet what is everyone talking about? A deal struck up by all men, greedy men, and arrogant men. Including a man who failed to get two cars he owned in, so he paid another man to get his American man in the race. (Leaving his British man who is his only winner in 2011 at home for the race).
Did you know ALL the females entered in 2011 made it in, none needed anyone to buy them their seat to be in. This goes just like it did for one very important woman, Janet Guthrie. Janet was not some pretty gal who did risky bikini ads. She was not a former model turned sugar daughter for a third world dictator. Janet was a really smart, hands on driver who had to bust her rear to even get to IMS.
Janet Guthrie built her own race cars while an amateur racing in SCCA. (Toyotas which is only added points with me!) When she got to Indy she struggled and did not make it her first time around. There was no Monday afternoon announcement. She had to wait 12 months to make history. While she was handed a ride that first year at Charlotte, to instead break the barrier in NASCAR first. (Which she does not get credit for there). She did what many said could not be done, became the first female to make the field of 33.
I thought female fans would have recalled this when they let fans pick the 33 greatest of all time. Sure she never won a 500 mile race, but she won a bigger battle, equal rights at the Brickyard. Janet Guthrie was far more deserving then a few men on that list, like Michael Andretti. He neither made history nor won.
Somehow the PR folks for Go Daddy have brainwashed the American Media that Danica is the pioneer. Hell, there would be no Danica without Sarah Fisher. There is no Sarah Fisher without Janet Guthrie!
This brings me to my pick for the 2011 edition of the 500. I normally like to say and pick things no other bloggers do. However after the performance on Pole Day, I am going to jump on the boat with many of my contemporaries. I pick Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher racing to win the 2011 Indy 500!
While there still will not be a female driver to win it. (Yet!) Sarah would be the first female owner to win the race. (Real female owner, not sure if one may have been a technical owner for tax purposes like NASCAR driver/owners are infamous for.)
More and more I see little girls at the INDYCAR tracks, dreaming to be a winning driver, much like my self and mostly boys did just two decades ago. Perhaps the 2011 race is about to break another barrier no one envisioned in 1911. Remember it would be nine years and one World War after Ray Harroun took the inaugural 500 before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified finally allowing women the right to vote. The idea of a women even driving in 1911 was laughed upon. Now we have four women from all over the world competing this year as drivers, and one as an owner.
Just remember if the 67 wins, this will be BIGGER than Ray Harroun. It will be the end of an era of labeling drivers and owners by sex, and nationality. What is most important is who is a racer and who is not. I always felt Sarah Fisher was a real racer, stuck in lesser teams due to her sex.
This sport is all the better for the growing interest from women as drivers, owners, mechanics, and fans. It will only improve after 500 miles May 29th, 2011!