Carrying the Banner
Editor's Notebook, August 2002
Sarah Fisher doesn't want to be the point person for women in racing. She'd like to be thought of as just another driver in the IRL series. Her on-track performance in Kentucky recently, however, has made that option even more difficult for her.
Every time she does something outstanding, as she did by winning the pole in Kentucky, her accomplishment is heralded as a step forward for all women in the sport. She is, whether she wants to be thought of in this way or not, the most well known woman currently racing in a top-of-the-ladder series.
|Whom have I left out?|
Angelle Savoie has carved a major name for herself as a top competitor in the NHRA, but in motorcycle racing. Shawna Robinson is still trying to put together a full season and become competitive in Winston Cup. Melanie Paterson has just entered the ALMS series in a LMP 675 prototype with a podium finish at Trois-Rivieres and could soon gain serious recognition. Whom have I left out? (I'm sure you'll let me know.)
My wife and I followed Sarah in the Kentucky IRL race very closely. That wasn't hard to do since the commentators were following her equally as closely. She started on the pole and kept the lead for about thirty laps, clearly outracing the field. Her crew put her back to tenth place at the first pit stop and she battled back to fourth before the final pit stop, when her crew put her back to tenth again. She had time only to move up to eighth place before the checkered flag flew.
|pardon the expression...|
I saw her make a move on Castroneves. She dove below the white line in the corner and corrected the resulting oversteer that would have sent most competitors into the wall as she took position from him. That move took, you should pardon the expression, balls!
Sarah can race. No question about it. Shawna, Angelle, Melanie, Teri, Audrey, Rhonda, Molly, Deborah, and (your favorite racer's name here) can race every bit as well. Sarah should not carry the banner alone. There should be, eventually, no need for a banner to be carried at all. But until the racing community accepts women into their ranks with the same neutrality that race cars accept a woman driver into the seat, the banner will have to be carried.