Indy 500 2007

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the 2007 Indianapolis 500.

Historic Three-Women Run at Indy 500 Fizzles

Maybe this is the surest sign that women racers are no different than their male rivals: Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno were all ticked off after the Indianapolis 500.

Patrick worried she had squandered her best chance yet to finally win an IndyCar race Sunday. Fisher fumed about pit miscues that kept her from running closer to the front. Duno kicked herself for losing control after starting better than expected.

Hey, what about being the first trio of women to run a major American race?

"It's cool," Fisher told a reporter in the soggy paddock. "But we'll wait and see how you guys analyze it."

Patrick, right on the tail of leader Tony Kanaan after a three-hour rain delay, wound up eighth for the second year in a row, doomed by less-than-stellar pit stops, lapped traffic and another round of storms that lopped off the final 34 laps.

Teammate Dario Franchitti crossed the finish line in a driving rain, taking the checkered flag along with a yellow. Patrick could only wonder what might have been had the skies not opened up for the second time.

"This elusive win keeps sitting on my shoulder," Patrick said, shaking her head. "Eighth is not anything like we wanted, especially since we were running second behind Tony for a long time. It's definitely a disappointing day."

Patrick has three straight top-10 finishes in the 500, beginning with her memorable fourth-place showing as a rookie when she was leading in the closing laps but had to back off the throttle to conserve fuel.

This time, she dipped into the pits with the rest of the leaders on lap 155, only to be left behind when Franchitti and several other cars stayed on the track. Their strategy paid off when two more cautions slowed the pace, and the rain returned, ending the race.

"This is probably the most frustrating of all," Patrick said, the words rolling slowly off her lips for emphasis. "I really felt like I had a chance. I really had a fast car. But silly lapped traffic got in the way. These guys are hanging on to their cars for dear life and not looking around very much."

Patrick said she had to dive into the grass on turn two when a lapped car - she thought it was former winner Buddy Lazier - cut her off while she was trying to get by. She also lost a couple of valuable spots during the last round of pit stops.

"What are you going to do? Suck it up and come back next year," Patrick said. "I've had a chance every year to do well in this race. It's a tough race to win, and there's a lot of pressure. But I said to my guys on the radio before it was over, 'We'll win this one. I promise you we'll win it at some point."'

Fisher, returning to Indy after a two-year absence, finished two laps down in 18th place with a car that never had any chance of running with the leaders. Still, it was the best showing of her six Brickyard starts.

Not that it made her feel any better.

"Nothing was going our way," Fisher said. "I thought we had a car that was capable of finishing maybe 15th or 16th, but the speed just wasn't there. We've got to get better at that. We've got to have the pit stops go our way, all the calls and everything attached to that. It just has to be flawless at Indy. Today, it just wasn't."

Asked for specifics, Fisher bit her lip.

"Just stuff," she said bluntly. "I can't say anymore about it."

Venezuelan Duno got plenty of attention heading into her first Indy 500, and it wasn't all positive. She crashed in practice, struggled to get up to speed in qualifying and started 29th from the next-to-last row.

She was by far the slowest car on Carburetion Day - Friday's final shakedown - and there was plenty of speculation that Indy Racing League officials would order her off the track if she couldn't keep up.

Duno not only stayed with the back-markers, she passed a few to get as high as 22nd in the 33-car field. Then came a rookie mistake; she was caught speeding on pit road. A short time later, there was the gaffe that ended her day.

As the green flag waved after a caution, Duno came up too quickly on a pack of cars in turn one, tried to back off too late and wound up sliding into the outside wall.

"I'm so sad because my team did a fantastic job with the car," Duno said. "I wanted to finish the race. So, no, I'm not happy."

But she did surprisingly well for a 35-year-old racer who didn't begin her U.S. racing career until 1999, joined a hastily assembled team after the season began and came to the sport's most hallowed race with one IndyCar race on her resume.

Clearly, Duno is more than just a pretty face.

"This race is intense and very hard," said Duno, who climbed out of the wrecked car on her own and got a clean bill of health at the infield medical center.

Patrick stayed off the wall but couldn't make it to victory lane. If the rain held off for another half-hour, it might have been a different story.

"We had a great shot at it," Patrick said. "Darn the rain."

When just about everyone had cleared out of the massive speedway, the setting sun peeked through for the first time all day. It was too late to help Patrick, but there's no clouding this new era in Indy racing.

Yep, these women are up to speed.

*    *    *

Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement
Menstuff® Directory
Menstuff® is a registered trademark of Gordon Clay
©1996-2019, Gordon Clay