Happy Hour: Yes, we’re talking about Danica

New season, new Happy Hour! You know the drill. Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com or @NickBromberg. We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy. Right? Oh who are we kidding, this is NASCAR. No one is ever happy.

So, last week. Daytona. Hope you enjoyed our coverage. It was damn fun to be a part of a pretty special crew with some pretty special stories throughout the week. A big part of that coverage? You-know-who. But she did her part to earn that coverage. We'll start with her. (P.S. that's the face I imagine Erin Andrews made as soon as she got a chance to react to her encounter with 50 Cent.)

Can we please give Danica enough respect and stop bringing up she's a girl and start referring to her as just a racer? I don't see the same ooh-and-ahhs for Johanna Long and I think she's hotter.
- Jimmy

I understand the Danica hype. This was one of 4 races she legitimately has a chance to win. So they pumped her up continuously for ratings. She will be trolling between 28-42 for the next few weeks until we get to Dega. Plate tracks take out a lot of driver skill and make everything even. Winning a pole at Daytona doesn't make one a superstar, see Loy Allen Jr. Hope she does great because my girls love her, but ready to see her perform on tracks that take a lot of skill. I think she will struggle all year, but so will Stenhouse and all other rookies.
- Jeff

Note: These are not from Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

Danica Patrick has always walked the fine line of wanting to be known as a racer first and foremost while using her, uh, talents as a girl to make space for herself in the public spectrum. Sometimes the former can get lost in the latter. There's no denying that.

Do I blame her for it? No. She, and her publicists, knew that she could create a niche for herself and she's done it quite well. Now, onto the Johanna Long comparison. You also haven't seen Johanna Long in Maxim or the SI Swimsuit Issue. And that's a perfectly legitimate way of going about your business as a female driver too. There's no right way to do things. And, let's be real here, Johanna's situation (not as many articles, no Super Bowl commercials, small team) makes for the perfect contrast. If there wasn't so much of a contrast, fans wouldn't pit them against each other so much.

As far as Loy Allen is concerned, Patrick already has him beat in the best career finish category. Allen's highest finish was a 10th place at Talladega. Will Patrick make the Chase? Likely not. But this was a great building block. We now will see where it goes from there.

Dale Earnhardt's death spawned a revolution of driver safety in NASCAR. I can only hope that NASCAR realizes how close they came to having to start a fan safety revolution after this weekend. They are playing with fire and if they don't figure out a better way to keep these cars or parts of them out of the stands. They are going to get burned. After multiple incidents in the last 10 years where a car has left the ground and ended up destroying sections of fencing just yards away from thousands of fans. How have they not looked into a second layer of fencing that separates the fans from the action on the track? This wouldn't be needed around the entire track but not having this in grandstand sections seems almost negligent.
- Darrell "Furiousd" Watts
Who will never complain about Junior's TV time ever again!

You can always be safe, but you can never be too safe. Daytona re-evaluated and reinstalled its fencing after Carl Edwards flew into the catchfence at Talladega. Is there an even better option? Likely, but we also probably don't know it or it hasn't been significantly tested yet.

We also have to keep in mind that for the most part, the catchfence did it's job, so maybe it's not a matter of reinventing the whole concept. Is a second layer realistic? The tire did fly over the fence. Can the fence go any higher without compromising the structural integrity of the design?

A solid option is probably not a realistic answer at this point. Yeah, plexiglass sounds like a great idea, but you'd have cars bouncing off of it if they hit it and I don't want to even think about what would happen if it shattered. I'm very certain that this is something that you can trust NASCAR will look into thoroughly to find the best possible option to prevent this from happening again.

EDIT: Thanks to an email from Paul and some quick sleuthing by Geoffrey Miller, the tire went through the fence as viewed from this video here. So to reiterate, we're going to have a solution as soon as possible.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the Jet Dryer, as PTI reminded us during the end of the show. Which made me think, I don't even remember seeing anything about it during the entire Daytona broadcast (I could have missed an earlier segment, though) That's the type of incident you don't forget and seems like something they would at least acknowledge. It was even used in the NASCAR promo.

Do you think the incident on Saturday made producers not show a clip, or do you think a decision was made beforehand? Looking back, it just seems like an event you would at least talk about a little.
- J Rob

I wasn't paying as much attention to the race broadcast as normal as I was following the race from the press box and missed most of the pre-race soaking in the Daytona festivities. Is this true? I do know that Juan Pablo Montoya does not like talking about the incident as he's not a big fan of fire. Given the crashes and insanity that I saw on the Fox promo before the race, however, it does seem odd if they didn't show it.

I was wondering if you could run this in your column? It is about a short track in my home town of Anderson, IN. I has been writing songs for 30 years while battling a nerve disorder called Dystonia which affects my muscles and speech. I wrote the song earlier last year and since it has been recorded it has went number 1 for 3 weeks now on songramp.com music charts and soundclick.com country charts. you can hear the song yourself by clicking on the link to my homepage and see the charts on this link. I have been a big fan of Anderson Speedway since 1979 and love Nascar and short track and figure 8 racing. Let me know if you can run this.
- Steve Wallace

Another note: This is not that Steve Wallace. I think.

This is awesome. Give Steve some love, y'all! It's a perfect country song and bonus points for the checkered flag shirt! Love the creativity and it's a perfect way to end this week's mailbag. Steve beats the heck out of "Let's Go Racin' Boys."

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