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Indy's women are whiny when they lose

May 31, 2000

For the record, there was nothing funny about the fact that the two women drivers in the Indy 500 last weekend ran into each other early in the race. Nothing funny at all.

OK, made it through the first paragraph. Deep breaths. Concentrate.

This is professional auto racing and it could happen to anyone. The fact that out of the field of 33 it was the two female drivers who wiped themselves out barely before their engines were warm was pure coincidence.

Two paragraphs. About 10 more to go. It may not be easy, but I can do this. I just have to focus. Be the ball, Danny.

The accident occurred in Turn 1, on lap 74 when Lyn St. James went high in a turn and was struck by the faster Sarah Fisher. Both women then hit the wall. Neither was injured, but their cars suffered too much damage to continue.

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That's good, that's good. Recounting the facts is good filler. Takes up space. Inoffensive. Pure vanilla.

If there is a lesson here, it is that safety at the Indy 500 has greatly increased since racing first began at the brickyard in 1911. The Indy 500 is so-named because the race is 500 miles long. Interestingly, the word "Indy" is short for "Indianapolis," the city where the race is held each Memorial Day weekend.

All right, but you have to move on. It's starting to sound like a third-grade book report. Just hang tough.

After the crash, the 19-year-old Fisher tearfully radioed her team to report that she was out of the race.

Gasp, wheeze.

The two women were credited with finishing 31st and 32nd. Also coincidentally, both women must have been wearing the same perfume, Estee Lauder's "Blameless," because each said the accident was someone else's fault.

Watch it!

Fisher's team said St. James was going around the track like she had "a boat anchor tied to her car."

Meee-ow. Like Fisher has never seen a 53-year-old woman putzing around in a car before? What, she's never heard of minivans? So what if St. James is driving like she's going from one yard sale to the next. You can't tell me this is a shock.

Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

St. James said her car wasn't handling well and that some other driver passed her improperly, forcing her to go too high in the turn.

Right. It's always the men, isn't it? The MEN didn't have her car adjusted right. A MAN was going too fast and passed her in a bad spot. And I suppose the pit crew hadn't taken out the garbage the night before, and the mechanic couldn't keep his grease-covered hands off the remote and that the radio man never tells her what he's really thinking.

Help! She's breaking up! I can't hold 'er together much longer! Mayday, Mayday! Auntie Em, Auntie Em, it's a twister, it's a twister!!!

I mean, if the only two cars with women drivers crash 20 feet out of the starting gate, doesn't that tell you something? Like maybe it's time to end this charade of putting a token woman or two into the field? Face it, those two spots in the pack just cheated two men with genuine chances of winning the race out of a chance to be competitive. Look, if chicks were meant to drive competitively, God would have put motors on shopping carts, so why no one checked to make sure these two gals could parallel park without having three wheels up on the curve before giving them a 6,000-horsepower piece of machinery I'm sure I'll never know, and another thing...

It's all over, we're going down! This is not a drill! Repeat, this is not a drill. Somebody, quick, hit hyperspace, NOW!!!

... And so, in conclusion, while everbearing strawberries do have some advantages over the June variety, you will be more happy with a two-to-one ratio in favor of early crop. Until next time, I wish you peace and gentleness.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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