Kanaan wins in Milwaukee, but...

Posted by Iannucci | 6/03/2007 | 7 comments »
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There are several interesting stories resulting from the ABC Supply AJ Foyt 225 at THE Milwaukee Mile. Unfortunately for race winner Tony Kanaan, his victory a week after everyone thought he was going to win at Indy is not one of the larger ones.

For now, let's just focus on the love between Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon. In case you missed the race, Patrick qualified miserably and started in the last row, but by lap 88 she had worked her way up to sixth. On that lap she attempted a pass of both Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon, and after moving past Franchitti and then seemingly getting a nose up on Wheldon who was on her high side. Wheldon nosed past then chopped down on the #7, clipping the right front of the car and sending Mrs Hospenthal into a semi-spin without wall contact. Patrick lost laps getting the car repaired, but managed to eventually work her way back on the lead lap and finish in 8th.

BUT...after the race Danica confronted Dan about the contact. I'm sure she meant to say "I love it when you rub me that way," and I'm certain Dan wanted to reply "I just feel a closeness between us." Instead, it came out like this.


Danica:

"Dan just turned down into the corner because, as he told me, you can't get caught up in the marbles, which to me means that you got passed. He turned down into me and spun me sideways and luckily I caught it, kept going, managed to go from, I don't know what position that was for, but, you know, last row to fourth, then back down to last again, up to eighth. So it was a tough day.

"But that incident from my perspective was that, is that Dan got passed and he didn't want to let off.
Dan:

"She's a little disgruntled, but as Brian Barnhart says, what goes around comes around. She nearly put me in the wall at Indianapolis, and I certainly have no problems with anyone else on the track.

"I've been in this business long enough to know when someone is there and when somebody is not."
Ooh - sounds a lot like the card Old Man Cheever played when he got caught up with Young Marco last year. Danica:

"I just came up to him, I looked at him, put my arm around him, started walking, and I said, 'What happened? What was that for? Did you not see me? Why didn't you back off?' And he didn't say anything.

"I said, 'I was clearly inside of you,' because I heard him saying in an interview that I wasn't all the way up alongside of him. So I'm not sure what is lost in translation there, but I was completely alongside of him. I've made many more passes happen with being less far up on someone.

"And then he said, 'Well, you can't get caught out in the marbles.' I said, 'Well, then that's a pass, Dan. I got by you, you need to let off and you didn't, you turned into me.' That was about it. And I told him, you know, if you don't think that I'm going to remember this, I don't know why you're being like this, but if you don't think I'm going to remember, you're crazy.

"I just grabbed his arm and that's it. I grabbed his arm and kind of pushed off. But, you know, it was nothing violent, nothing violent."
Nothing violent like when she got in the ambulance fracas with Jaques Lazier, I suppose. Dan:

"She's probably feeling the pressure of not winning races when her teammates are. She's just feisty. I think in a situation like that, sometimes you get desperate. It's never nice to come into contact with somebody. She's messing with the wrong person if she wants to get feisty."
The hype machines can manufacture all the rivalries they want between women drivers, but this one between Dan and Danica appears to be real. Recall that Danica got WAY MORE publicity than Dan Wheldon the year he won at Indianapolis, prompting the Well Done one to don the "Actually won the Indy 500" t-shirt.

More on the race later, but tfor tonight this deserves the bulk of the attention. ESPN, you just got handed your lead in for the race in Texas next weekend.

7 comments

  1. pressdog // June 04, 2007 4:13 AM  

    Like Goodyear said during the race, Danica will take you into the corner and if there's contact and you hit the wall, she'll say sorry and not think twice about it. But, I guess when she's the one getting hip checked, then that's a different deal. She makes herself look like a princess whining to Barnhart for a penalty and getting all grabby with Wheldon. What's Wheldon going to do? Shove her back? That would be great video -- man shoves woman. Wheldon is on the phone right now to Sarah to come kick some ass for him. Honestly, it was one of them racing deals. Danica was probably a little on the aggressive side and Dan wasn't going to get himself into the gray for Danica. Good no call from Barnhart and childish post-race from Danica.

  2. Anonymous // June 04, 2007 4:29 AM  

    The trumping up a rivalry between the women drivers is silly. Especially when you consider that one of them has hardly ever driven an IRL race (Duno) and the other drives for an operation that can barely fund a decent car (Fisher). Having said that, I've been to a few races in person and it is clear that Danica is a fan favourite. I wonder how long that lasts given that many casual fans haven't gotten a taste of her wonderful personality. Consider Milwaukee a heaping spoonful.

  3. Anonymous // June 04, 2007 5:57 AM  

    Oprah's Excuse of the Week Club

    ...what will she have for Texas?

  4. Joe // June 04, 2007 6:44 AM  

    Eddie Gossage just got handed the best Christmas gift he's gotten since AJ attempted to turn Arie Luyendyk into a perennial a few years back.

  5. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // June 04, 2007 7:25 AM  

    Putting all feelings aside for either driver...when I saw the fracas on tv this morning all I could think of was how silly Dan looked sipping on his straw.

  6. Anonymous // June 04, 2007 10:33 AM  

    It shouldn't be lost though on what a fine job Danica did racing from 17th up to 4th or 5th before getting hit by DW. It certainly looked like it was his fault and I can't blame her for being ticked!

    And haasn't the last two races been wonderful after the early one's where DW was practicaly lapping the field!
    IRL FAN DAN

  7. Anonymous // June 04, 2007 11:29 AM  

    My wife and I were at the race on Sunday and I can say the BIGGEST cheer from the crowd was when the track Jumbotron replayed the Dan - Danica pit row tussle after the finish of the race. Especially when she shoved him away. A little rivalry between two visible drivers is a good thing (ask NA$CAR), as long as the two of them don't try to plow into each other, ala NA$CAR.

    mmack