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Is Danica a 'Girl Driver' Behind the Wheel?

AP Photo

When a stock car is running at 196 miles per hour, it’s impossible to tell whether the driver is a man or a woman: The driver is just a blur without a trace of specific character to the rest of us awed bystanders. It’s one of the few instances in sports when women compete directly against men, with no allowances. When Danica Patrick crosses the start line in Sunday’s Daytona 500, her situation will be exactly the same as the guys: They’ll all be staring out of helmets at the road ahead, absorbing high speed sensory jolts while encased in 3,400 pounds of carbon and sheet metal.

 

Nevertheless, when it’s Patrick driving, the question inevitably arises: Is a racecar really genderless?

“I don’t know,” she says. “That’s a good question,...

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