During a break in qualifying at the Indianapolis 500, T.J. Patrick told an ESPN reporter that his daughter didn't come to Indy to start on the second row. Nope. She came to Indy to win the pole position. Bold call, but truthful. The reaction, of course, wasn't so kind. As if she knew the comment would become ammunition to be used against her, Danica Patrick had a ready answer. "My dad is a puller, not a pusher," she said later, restoring her father's dignity with one carefully rehearsed line.
This is Danica Patrick at her media-savvy best, extinguishing fires like a White House press secretary while feigning blase about her impact. She doesn't claim to be carrying the flag of a cause - hell, she wasn't even born until six years after Arlene Hiss and Janet Guthrie broke the gender barrier - but Danica Patrick is acutely aware of the implications of what she's doing and the commotion she's creating by doing it.
"That stuff is just a different side of me," she said, explaining the hype. "It's part marketing. I mean, it creates a stir and it brings attention to the sponsorship on the sides of the cars, (but) I think I have fun doing it. It's nothing more than a bit of fun and benefit for attention."