In Case You’re Confused: She’s a Driver, Not a Savior

I can’t hold it in any longer. I’m so tired of hearing about the “doomed future of the IRL” as a result of Danica’s departure. Note that this is just the race gIRL’s opinion, but let’s take a deep breath and gather some perspective, all you Crabby Appletons.

Did the IRL exist before Danica came along? Yes, I think it did. Are there currently fans of the Series who are not DP fans? Yes, I think there are. Will those fantastic, elite machines continue to run the circuits even after she leaves? Yes, I think they will.

I’m not a Danica-hater. I think she’s got talent, but WAY beyond that, I think she’s got marketing savvy. She has built a brand, which will exist and flourish no matter what type of car she’s in. So we’re clear, it is NOT her skill, her determination, or even her track record that has made her the face of the IRL. It is her story, her fiery personality and yes, even her cute little body that has landed her smack in the middle of the media frenzy. This Danica Mania has, of course, done good things for the promotion of the IndyCar Series, but the lack of this one woman will not be the end of this great sport.

It has been suggested that we could throw in other females to replace her. I say this with the utmost amount of respect, but I guaran-damn-tee that no Milka, Ana, Pippa or Sarah will ever reach the height of popularity as Danica (Miss Patrick if you’re nasty). It is her MARKETABILITY that makes her a star… and none of these other ladies has proven to compare. Could someone else come along and trump her? Absolutely. But let’s focus on what we can do now, instead of whining and waiting.

Moving forward, it’s going to be all about marketing the Series correctly. There’s an entire grid of drivers out there with “untapped” personalities. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, if the field was filled with Tony Kanaans, fan interaction would be through the roof, and the “soap opera” appeal similar to the likes of NASCAR and WWE would certainly be attracting fans. We like drivers when we feel like we know them… when we feel a connection. Helio is a prime example because of DWTS, and TK should get a twitter trophy for his fan interaction.

I’d love to see other drivers step up to the plate and give a little love for the benefit of the IRL’s future. Even fun contests like the “Find Hideki an American Girlfriend” adventure are great for developing that connection. Naturally, I’ve got a ton of ideas for marketing the Series – I’m sure you do too – but that’s for another day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to focusing on the last races of the season. Because I, for one, won’t let Danica’s race for market share get in the way of the REAL race.

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5 responses to “In Case You’re Confused: She’s a Driver, Not a Savior

  • John Snyder

    Monica:

    Wow, what a great blog entry………….I have always fancied myself as a darn good writer, but I can’t hold a candle to you!

    Your points are all very valid. IndyCar racing survived without A.J., Mario and Bobby/Al behind the wheel. There is no doubt that the IRL can survive without Danica. Oh, sure, she is good for the sport, probably, nee, definitely, the most recognizable face in “our” sport. But, IndyCar racing today goes way beyond one driver, one who has a single victory in her career, but struts around and talks like her face is on the Borg Warner trophy multiple times. Get over it, already, lady.

    I say let her go, let her humble herself trying to make a name in the cutthroat world of NASCAR. Yes, she’ll sell a lot of t-shirts, at first, but when the novelty of her mixing it up with boys, only to consistantly run outside the top 20, wears off, I’m willing to bet that she’ll drag herself back to the series that put her on the map, the IRL.

    There are some marketable females within the IndyCar ranks today, e.g. Sarah Fisher, Ana Beatriz and Pippa Mann, as well as young talented women sprint car drivers like Miranda Throckmorton, Alison McLeod and Shannon McIntosh. It’s the IRL’s job to create a career path for these future stars and, just as important, let the race fans see what great personalities each one possesses. If IndyCar can do this properly, the memories of Danica will be a distant pass.

    In conclusion, I, too, am a Danica fan, and would love for her to stay in the IRL and help keep fan interest growing for IndyCar. However, if she decides to leave, it’s not the end of the world, the IRL will survive!

    John

    • Brian McKay

      Amen, brother! “I say let her go, let her humble herself trying to make a name in the cutthroat world of NASCAR. Yes, she’ll sell a lot of t-shirts, at first …”

  • tomkat

    Pretty good blog entry, I like it. Especially liked the comments about Tony Kannan. Those comments are so true.

  • Amy

    Great post – I totally agree that if all drivers were like TK it would be awesome – Danica hasn’t been her fiery self this year and thus I find her to be among the boring drivers lately – in the same boat as Dixon pretty much. There are so many awesome personalities out there – like Nelson Philipe – his twitter posts and pictures are hilarious. The IRL need to stop focusing on Danica Dixon and Briscoe all the time and focus more on getting the drivers willing to be real to do video features, blogs etc. And getting PT in the series full time would be a huge score – oh yeah Scheckter full time too cause I love to watch some good glove throwing…
    I do like Danica but rainbows and bunny rabbits are boring…

  • CurlingRacer

    Well put. This series will survive because there are fans like you and the rest of us that live and breathe Indy Car racing. The series has been through hell the last 15 years and it’s still here.

    CR

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