As she exited her car after her first Indianapolis 500 pole day qualifying attempt on Saturday, Danica Patrick was frustrated.
So frustrated that she threw her crew under the bus. "This is the worst car I've ever had," she said, according to USA Today's Nate Ryan on Twitter. "There's no stability or grip. It's just scary, really scary ... It's awful, really awful. I think I'm still shaking." And when her comments were played over the track PA, she was booed.
“I wasn’t flat out the last two laps and I was scared to death flat on the first two. I’ve never been bad here before. I’ve never been outside the top 10 on a finish or qualifying, so, it’s not my fault. The car is not good.”
Danica Patrick being booed? What the heck?
Maybe Danica's candor -- or whining, as some may prefer -- is rubbing fans the wrong way. Danica has always been confident, and unafraid to tell it like she sees it. That makes her likeable to some, and unlikable to others.
However, there's a line that needs to be balanced when a car isn't up to a driver's expectations, and Danica's comments crossed that line. It's OK for her to be unhappy with the car, and it's ok for her to be disappointed with her qualifying run. Those are normal. But you don't say "it's not my fault."
A driver should never draw the line between himself or herself and the crew. It's referred to as a team for a reason. "My crew screwed up on pit road" or any variation that implies a separation of driver and crew is always more demeaning than "We screwed up on pit road" or the like.
The sooner Danica learns that, the better, no matter how unhappy she is.
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- Danica Patrick