This weekend, Danica Patrick will compete in her final Indy 500. While she has legions of haters out there, she also has legions of fans and with legions of fans come groups of weirdos and boy, they seem to be industrial strength this year. Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel observed Patrick and the situation she so often finds herself in at the track and was moved to write a pithy, angry, and altogether awesome column about it. As a guy who spends his life at the races, I have seen plenty of “super fans” in action around their favorite racers but I have never heard of some of the things that Doyel has observed surrounding (literally) Patrick.
When one chooses a profession that puts them in the public eye, it comes with expectations of being available to that public and we’d argue that there are limitations to such things. Fans are the lifeblood of any racing organization and in many ways they are a commodity that the racers need to succeed. By and large they are awesome people who are respectful and cool with meeting their heroes and at least giving them some breathing room. As you will read in this column, there’s a legion of Patrick fans that are capable of doing neither of those things.
Make no mistake, I do not feel “bad” for Danica Patrick or pity her, but I do share Doyel’s opinion that these people are idiots and freaks. What’s your thought?