Duno tops Danica in laps led

September 9, 2008
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So who led more laps during this Indy Racing League season; Danica Patrick or Milka Duno?
Well, if you chose Milka Duno, you are right on. On lap 141 of Sunday’s race at Chicagoland, during a caution period, while most of the field ducked into the pits for their second-to-last pit stop, the Citgo crew had Duno stay out, knowing she only had one more stop to make. The move sent Duno up to the front of the pack, enabling her to lead her first laps in the IRL.

On the ensuing restart, she led the field down to the green. After a couple of laps under green, Helio Castroneves and Dan Wheldon zipped around, but Duno remained in the main draft before she made her last pit stop. Her five laps led, brought her team a bit of the spotlight, and also meant she led one more lap than Patrick this season. Granted, Patrick became the first woman to win an IRL race at Motegi, Japan earlier this year, and Duno hasn’t approached anything nearing that accomplishment. Duno, who placed 14th Sunday, does seem to have a growing fan following. But again, she’s nowhere near Patrick’s level—yet. Fan popularity aside, Duno has been widely criticized by IRL insiders for being slow on the track and at times a danger to other drivers. Even actress Ashley Judd, the wife of driver Dario Franchitti, told reporters Duno should be pulled off the track last year.

Duno’s primary sponsor, Citgo, appears committed to putting her back on the track next year. “We’ll continue to work for next year,” Duno said after Chicagoland. “We showed we have a lot of potential as a team. We just need to find the resources to improve and continue to build our team to be faster all the time. I have to say many thanks to all (my crew). They continue to believe in me, and I showed what we can do when we have good conditions. I have to thank Robbie (Buhl), my coach.”

The IRL could have a record crop of women racing nearly full-time next season. Along with Patrick and Duno, Sarah Fisher said she is confident she will find enough sponsorship to race full-time next year, and there’s a promising female driver in the Indy Lights Series this year. Ana Beatriz, who races for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, has a solid sponsorship with Healthy Choice, and finished third in the overall Indy Lights points standings this year. I’ll write more on Fisher and Beatriz’s plans later this week. So stay tuned.
  • If you haven't seen Ana Beatriz race, and you're a race fan, you should. She has the potential to be pretty good. Maybe the best female driver the IRL has yet seen. It will be interesting to see if Sam Schmidt Motorsports follows her into the IRL.
  • Ha! Too funny.
  • Duno still sucks. Anyone can lead a lap if they stay out when everyone else pits. Her fan base is comprised entirely of guys. Rumors run rampant that Duno herself is actually a dude (who cannot drive). Do not get me wrong, I think Danica blows too, but she at least tries (fails and whines…). Milka will not drive flat to save her life. You listen to the scanner and her team is screaming at her not to let off the gas. She just cannot do it. They should have put her in the Lights to learn this stuff. The learning curve should not be in Indycar.
  • I hear it was a real ratings bonanza. Ha. .8 overnight on a network means people were actively shutting it off. The final, if it ever comes out, usually plummets from the overnight.

    Anthony, don't forget to write an entry whenever some teams disappear from the 'league' over the long off season. Also watch for this Australia deal to be one and done. The clueless Aussies actually think they are going to 'discuss' things with FTG. They must not know his track record.
  • Stan, .8 against the football season openers is actually pretty good. The ratings will be higher next year since it's a Sat. night race and they've got no race going against the FB opener. Australia has been expected to be one and off for over a month, so no news there. Have you been following Nascar's woes, Stan? Engine manufacturers dropping the program or cutting back. Sponsors dumping Nascar left and right. Races not selling out. Nascar isn't having a great time this year and it's projected to get worse. Indycar is in a growth period and it's going to have growing pains. We aren't slamming on your apparent love of watching taxicabs bash into each other every weekend on their way to the finish line and a nice crockpot cooked meal. Chill.
  • Indycar is in a growth period and it’s going to have growing pains.

    A .8 on network TV, no title sponsor, DirectTV out as a presenting sponsor, shiny bare aluminum at the races and the wonderful Reversus TV contract next year is growth? Some growth. Oh, and the same wankers back next year, Special Ed, Foyt, Roth, Manning, and Milk and Donuts..... yawn.

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