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Racer Accuses Female Indy Driver Of Unfair Advantage

Earlier this week Wizbang featured the provocatively posed Danica Patrick, the female Indy 500 contender, who experts say is the first of the 4 females to have qualified at Indy with a legitimate shot at winning. Other drivers have noticed as well...

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) -- Robby Gordon accused Danica Patrick of having an unfair advantage in the Indianapolis 500 and said Saturday he will not compete in the race again unless the field is equalized.

Gordon, a former open-wheel driver now in NASCAR, contends that Patrick is at an advantage over the rest of the competitors because she only weighs 100 pounds. Because all the cars weigh the same, Patrick's is lighter on the race track.

"The lighter the car, the faster it goes," Gordon said. "Do the math. Put her in the car at her weight, then put me or Tony Stewart in the car at 200 pounds and our car is at least 100 pounds heavier.

Gordon has in past years pulled a highly unusual double shift of racing in the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Coca Cola 600 on the same day, but is faring so poorly this year as owner of his own racing team he's had to focus solely on the days NASCAR race.

For a guy who led NASCAR in crashes last year, including a retaliatory crash which accidentally eliminated two contenders for the Nextel Cup from qualifying, weight seems to be the least of his concerns. Maturity is where Gordon is carrying less of a load than his competition. His rep is so bad some of his sponsors have clauses in their agreements to protect the companies from being embarrassed by Gordon.

Update: Despite leading for a while Danica fell to fourth place the possibility of running out of fuel was too much to overcome. Regardless, the only name anyone will remember from this years Indy 500 is Danica Patrick. Robby Gordon came in 27th at the Coca Cola 600.


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Comments (33)

That fathead.... (Below threshold)
McCain:

That fathead.

At first I thought he might... (Below threshold)
tony:

At first I thought he might have had a bit of a point, since they make sure horse jockeys are within ounces of the same total weight.

But then I remembered that no one complained about Sarah Fisher being 70 or 80 lbs lighter than the rest of the guys (and seriously, 200 lb. Indy Car drivers are a rarity) when she was putting it in the wall in the first 20 laps every year.

Well..in taking a look at R... (Below threshold)

Well..in taking a look at Robby...he could stand to lose some weight.

Robby Gordon accus... (Below threshold)
Robby Gordon accused Danica Patrick of having an unfair advantage in the Indianapolis 500 and said Saturday he will not compete in the race again unless the field is equalized.

So he's getting liposuction, right?

Just for that, I hope Ms. P... (Below threshold)

Just for that, I hope Ms. Patrick WINS!

I'm setting in the infield ... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

I'm setting in the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as I type this... I'll be covering miss Patrick today, amoung others. Danica is indeed "the real deal", but I don't predict her to win today... but I think she'll be a force to contend with in the future. She just needs a little more "seasoning." Sees never run a race of this length, and to win here you need a flawless race. That's tough to do for a rookie (male or female).

I also hope the media frenzy that only gets better each day doesn't come back to bite her. If she goes out on the first lap, expect a lot of people to unfairly heap scorn on her.

I wonder if he would still ... (Below threshold)
Aileron:

I wonder if he would still be whinning if there were a 100 pound dude running. Some people (Gordon, Stewart) seem to enjoy listening to themselves just a little bit too much. Time to get over it and move on.

"I wonder if he would still... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"I wonder if he would still be whinning if there were a 100 pound dude running."

Jimmy Kite is a small dude. Dan Wheldon is pretty small too.

Robby Gordon is nothing mor... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Robby Gordon is nothing more than a big fat whiner.

He is just looking for an excuse for why he sucks so much as a driver.

He's just making excuses in... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

He's just making excuses in advance in case she finishes higher than him. I think we all know why he thinks that may be necessary.

This is similar to Vijay Si... (Below threshold)

This is similar to Vijay Singh complaining about Annika Sorenstam playing in the Colonial and refusing to play.

Big mouth, tiny b--s.

I follow motorcycle racing ... (Below threshold)

I follow motorcycle racing pretty closely, and I always use the excuse that my size and weight is what keeps me out of it (can't be the lack of talent, right?). I think it would be less of an issue with Indy Cars, but certainly an issue.

But you don't see motorcycle riders whining about it, you see them going on a diet...

I say good luck to Danica. I'd love to see a top-ten finish, since it's pretty unlikely she'll get the win.

Guys, love him or hate him ... (Below threshold)
J.M.:

Guys, love him or hate him he is 100% right! You’re all arguing with the emotion that women are just as equal and that is NOT his point.

This is an argument about the laws of physics not sex. High tech race cars such as Indy or NASCAR are built to a minimum weight requirement. Gordon is correct that the lighter a race car is the faster it will go. Remember high school science class?

NASCAR requires that all cars meet a minimum weight with the driver’s weight calculated. Indy apparently doesn’t do this. As a result, her car will weight 100 lbs lighter on the track and that is a HUGE advantage. You have to assume that she is competing with a team that can build a superior car, because not all car are built the same as limited by a team’s budget and sponsorship revenue.

This 100 lb advantage is astronomical when you compare it to the fact that these crew chiefs can move weight advantage around by the pound. Tire pressure is regulated at the half pound increments. Too much one way or the other and you’ll be in the wall.

Listen to what he is saying before you pass judgment. This isn’t about sex its about having a technological advantage.

Robby Gordon probably said ... (Below threshold)

Robby Gordon probably said that as a favor to Tony George. Now there will be even more controversy to get people to watch. And you guys are help spread it beautifully.

J.M., the IRL most certainl... (Below threshold)

J.M., the IRL most certainly DOES have a vehicle total weight requirement, which includes the vehicle and the fuel *before* the weight of the driver is figured. Patrick's vehicle meets regulations. So if weight is that big an issue, why isn't Gordon bitching about all the other IRL drivers who are lighter than him? I mean, he's a big guy, and there are several male drivers who significantly underweigh him who've been on that circuit for years. Where was the "unfair technological advantage" then?

I've listened to what Gordon's saying, and I've studied the rules of the sport. If you ask me, this is classic boo-hooing. Gordon's team wouldn't have won a damn thing anyway, so all he's doing is a little CYA. Creatively, yes - but it's CYA all the same. At the bottom of it all, he's just scared he might get his ass handed to him by a girl.

..and now that he's putzed ... (Below threshold)
DaveP.:

..and now that he's putzed off about it, he's gonna look like a whiner win or lose.

Sportsmanship? Who needs that?

What would he say if Kirsty... (Below threshold)
epador:

What would he say if Kirsty Alley was racing against him?

Gee, all those conservative... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Gee, all those conservative auto racing fans stood and cheered her on every lap she led. What happened to the liberal claim that conservatives all think that a woman's place is in the home? I doubt the liberals noticed, they were probably all golfing today at country clubs that allow women to join.

UPDATE: She came in 4th. </... (Below threshold)
DaveP.:

UPDATE: She came in 4th.

Oddly enough, all three men who came in ahead of her... weighed more than she did.

Not only did they weigh mor... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Not only did they weigh more than her their cars were all nearly full of gas, she was running on fumes, so her car weighed aroung 175 pounds less.

And Gordon placed right beh... (Below threshold)
epador:

And Gordon placed right behind her, right???

And Robby placed right behi... (Below threshold)
epador:

And Robby placed right behind her, right???

The way I see it, she is at... (Below threshold)

The way I see it, she is at a disadvantage because she has less upper-body strength than the men. So any weight advantage is offset by that.

He would have had more of a... (Below threshold)
ken:

He would have had more of a complaint if he speculated that her rookie mistakes would cause a major accident, knocking several other people out of the race. I have yet to see anyone else blame her for the accident that happened under the yellow flag, but it was clearly her fault.

Let's say Mr. Gordon has a ... (Below threshold)
cancon:

Let's say Mr. Gordon has a point, I have no doubt that all the Indy drivers are the same weight and the variation amongst the men is likely in the 50 if not 75 pound range as in some of the male drivers might be 140 - 150 pounds up to over 200, maybe even 225, Mario Andretti was looking quite chunky a few years ago, because even 25 lbs would be an advantage......did Mr. Gordon complain then, do they bother with weigh ins?

and actually in a high wind situation, doesn't a heavier car have an advantage aerodynamically does it not? try crossing a major bridge in a Cavalier vs a Hummer in high wind conditions....

Now Ken assuming you are co... (Below threshold)
cancon:

Now Ken assuming you are correct, like she would be the first rookie who caused an accident at Indy 500 or any other race

and Ken, how many "vets" caused accidents this racing season, well it's early yet eh.....

The funny thing is, he wasn... (Below threshold)
prolix:

The funny thing is, he wasn't even racing in the Indy 500 yesterday. I can't figure out why he even saw fit to comment. He's a very talented open-wheel driver, but he's definitely been stricken from the list of people that I'd like to see win. Loser...

If you guys think Danica... (Below threshold)
Koz:

If you guys think Danica doesn't have an unfair advantage, you're obviously thinking with your hearts rather than your heads. I don't follow NASCAR but I have no reason to doubt J.M. who earlier said that they factor the driver into the car's minimum weight. I do follow Formula 1, and I know that they also weigh drivers and add weight to the cars in order to equalize them for every race. Why do they do it ? Because less weight is an advantage! You can go faster, and use less fuel.
Danica proved this yesterday. In fact, it was part of the team's srategy. The reason she was "running on fumes" at the end of the race while her competitors had full tanks, was because she was getting better gas mileage than everyone else, and didn't need to pit when everyone else did. Her team was hoping this would be enough to win.
Can you immagine if she did win this way? Her win would be tarnished, and her great driving during the race would have been forgotten. Gordon may be boorish and crass, but everyone is right sometimes. Danica drove a great rookie race, and I hope she has a great future in motorsports. But, the IRL has to get its act together and level the the playing field like other governing bodies. Otherwise, any success Danica has in the future will be marred by controversy.

Koz.

Funny there cancon. You don... (Below threshold)
ken:

Funny there cancon. You don't try to disprove my point, which was that she was the cause of a major cause of an accident under a yellow flag. Whether or not anyone else has done that this season is irrelevant to that point which NO ONE else seems to be willing to admit or point out. A rookie, a guy, a woman... doesn't matter. She made a major mistake UNDER A YELLOW FLAG that caused many racers to be taken out of the race. It would be nice to see the press say that instead of "the racer with the nice rack ran a nice race."

I'm not saying it was a valid argurment. But it was one that was clear--she caused a chain of accidents behind her due to her bad driving. It happens every now and then in races--but in one that is high profile as the Indy 500 should be highlighted instead of swept under the rug simply, as my wife said, because the driver had boobs.

I actually agree.V... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I actually agree.

Veteran drivers can and do cause crashes in all types of racing, but I have followed NASCAR for years and I can't recall even a rookie causing a wreck under a yellow flag, much less a veteran.

And while I still think Robbie Gordon is a big fat whiner, and I also find his complaints coming now a bit suspect, I do think he has a point, and it does appear that the governing body should look into including driver's weight in its minimum weight requirements.

A small comment...... (Below threshold)
Dave:

A small comment...

Danica drove a car prepared by Rahal/Letterman that conforms to the 2005 season rules. Doesn't matter if she weighs 100 pounds or 2 mules worth. I'm sure there will be all sorts of whining about this and the rules will get changed again to where she (if she is allowed to compete next year because of the rule change stating females that are better than average looking can only be scorers in their own pit..) will have to wear iron weights in her panties or buy the weight that Kirstie Alley is losing. I lost TOTAL interest in the Indy 500 when all of the crap was going on years ago when the IRL started. This may just be a flash in the pan until the rule screws are turned again. I'm sure thay will regulate this down to where the next Indy telecast will finish slightly behind the 2005 NHL Stanley Cup......

Here's what SMART teams do. They follow the rules and exploite the weaknesses when they can. If there is no requirement for driver weight, why would she have to weigh as much as a chunk-butt male (or female for that matter..) driver? Methinks that Bobby hired her because she could drive the car well, not because she is small or light or even staggeringly photogenic

Robby, get off of your soapbox before you crush it with your staggering, can't win anything weight.

He is right, weight is a di... (Below threshold)
Jack_Mackle:

He is right, weight is a difference, and should be the same or close to. Not off by 100 pounds. I played many sports where weight is measured before you compete. Like Wrestling in High Schools, the refs will put you in the weight class of what you weigh. Since wrestling usually follows a rule of 5 pounds per weight class. A person weighing 136 pounds verses a person weighing 200 pounds will not wrestle each other. It would be an unfair advantage for both. The lesser would have speed, yet the heavier will have force. So it is a battle. Her vehicle plus her weight should equal or be very close to the other racers and their vehicles. You just can’t play it any other way, and any other way is unfair and unjust. Don’t give me the B.S. about body strength, height, reaction time, or any other thing that you could think of to combat it. Unless it meets with the rules of racing. If not, don’t bring it up. Thanks.

What an idiot just because ... (Below threshold)
Bob Hammond:

What an idiot just because she only weighs 100 lbs he is not going to race fine with me i never liked the punk anyway




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