The Official Danica Patrick Fan Site
There's a hole in the Indianapolis 500, and it won't be filled any time soon.
It's not something you can see, but something you feel, much like the emptyness of a lost love. Like any emotional void, only time will heal it and then only with a little luck, good fortune and very hard work.
Gone is that long black ponytail flying in the breeze and running through Gasoline Alley on the way to pit road. Gone is that sense of the underdog, the minority, the small but determined that brought a symbol of hope and a dreamer's reality. Gone is the knowing that if one little woman peddling as fast as she can could cross the finish line first, it would be something truly special. Gone is feeling that there really is much more to the race than simply winning.
No matter who wins the race tomorrow, it'll just be another driver drinking the milk. They'll get the attention they say they've been denied, for a short while. It won't really matter, because it won't do much to fill that hole. The folks who tell us they know better think that somehow, someway, we'll just forget about the excitement of the past seven years. They wish for a miracle without truly believing in magic. And if you don't believe in magic, you're missing the whole point.
Danica Patrick filled an empty spot, not because it was given to her, but because she worked her fingers to the bone. She gave of herself not just on the track, but with everything she did. She promoted, and she did it without being asked because she knew that in order to draw a crowd, you have to blow your horn. Loudly. Now that she is gone, is there anyone willing to step in and fill the void? Not capable, but willing. There is a big difference.
Until someone is willing to step up and give tirelessly of themselves, to pick up a shovel and work like the devil to fill that hole, it will just become bigger and deeper. I have yet to see anyone who is willing to make the necessary sacrifice. Rather, I see people who wish they had what Danica has, who feel entitled to it, and who want someone - anyone - to give it to them.
There's a hole in the Indianapolis 500, and it won't be filled any time soon without paying attention to the lesson that Danica Patrick so graciously left behind: Peddle as fast as you can, work yourself to exhaustion, and be prepared for someone else to take the credit and pass the blame. Danica did it until she had no more to give.
Will anyone else step up? Anyone?