IndyCar's de Silvestro not getting props she deserves

October 10, 2013
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In sports, it’s never a bad time for a good performance.

Still, the timing of IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro’s best result wasn’t ideal.

Last weekend, she made a bit of history, though by most news accounts, you’d barely know it. With the spectacular crash that marred the IndyCar race on Sunday and the shake-up in the overall series standings, then the come-from-behind Indianapolis Colts victory on Sunday and all the noise about the city’s bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl, few here have heard much about de Silvestro’s rise.

In Houston on Saturday, she scored the second best finish by a woman driver in IndyCar history, finishing second on the road course adjacent to Reliant Stadium.

Danica Patrick won an IndyCar race in Japan in 2008, and Sarah Fisher took second in Miami in 2001.

Maybe some of the success Patrick and Fisher had over the years has made this story a bit passé. And some will say it’s no longer politically correct to point out someone—whether successful or a failure—merely due to their gender.

But I’m not merely pointing out the Swiss-born de Silvestro is good for a woman. She’s just plain good, and I find it curious that few even in the racing media seem to acknowledge that.

For my money, she has the ability to surpass the accomplishments of the much ballyhooed Patrick and Fisher, who is now blazing her own trail as a team owner. I think if she ever gets surrounded by one of the power teams like Patrick was for years, her results would bypass Patrick’s by a wide margin.

No disrespect to Patrick and Fisher, but neither one of them could drive very well on road or street courses. I don’t think you can say the same about de Silvestro. She’s consistently held her own on the serpentine courses, viewed by many as the most difficult to navigate. At only 25 and with her best days likely in front of her, de Silvestro may be the first woman racer to possess all the skills needed to legitimately contend for an IndyCar title.

Remember, Houston is a road course. And de Silvestro not only finished second on Saturday, but scored a solid 10th on Sunday. But with all the hype surrounding Sunday’s last-lap crash involving Dario Franchitti and the duel between Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves for the series championship, there was little ink left for de Silvestro’s accomplishments.

If given the right ride, de Silvestro could be the first woman to win at Indianapolis, and it could just as easily come at the new IndyCar road race as on Indy’s famed oval.

Despite the fact de Silvestro is set to become a free agent at the end of this year, there’s little talk of her signing with one of the power teams. There’s so little talk of her this silly season, it’s just plain, well, silly. KV Racing officials said they’ll start negotiating with de Silvestro after they find a replacement for 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, who departed for Ganassi Racing. That doesn’t sound like a team that thinks they have a potential champion on its roster in de Silvestro.

Those who criticize de Silvestro for being slow to get up to speed this year seem to forget that last year was a wasted year in the young driver’s development as her Lotus-powered team was ridiculously underpowered and black flagged on more than one occasion.

Driving for the relatively small KV Racing team, de Silvestro is sitting 14th in this year’s IndyCar standings. Her 338 points is a fair bit off of Dixon’s 541 and Castroneves’ 521. But she’s even with young gun Josef Newgarden and ahead of Graham Rahal (304) and Ed Carpenter (292) and as near as I can tell doesn’t get half the press those drivers do.

In the past four races, de Silvestro finished ninth at Sonoma, fifth at Baltimore, second at Houston day one and 10th at Houston day two. In 18 starts this year, she has eight top 10 and two (nearly three) top five finishes.

Not bad for a woman. In fact, pretty spectacular for any young driver.

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  • A Female Who Can Drive Race Cars
    She would be pretty special in a Ganassi or a Penske. The way she has driven what has been put underneath her is amazing. It would be great to see her get a legitimate shot.
  • Simona got no attention...
    ....because 0.09 TV ratings will just do that to a girl. Bbbbbwwwwaaahhaaaa!!!!!!!!!
  • Totally Agree She deserves print time and face time
    She has been coming up the ladder very well and deserves to be on a great racing team. I would love for Ganassi to pick her up. She has great potential. She has never tooted her horn like Patrick. She also has a great personality if you ever get a chance to have a conversation with her. I wish her the best the rest of this season and into 2014. I hope she wins the new road race here next year!
  • She deserves no credit
    Name all the other 2nd place finishing drivers from this season without looking it up....you can't, can you? Shame on you Anthony for even bringing up the woman-card. The reason Simona gets no press is because shes a racer...pure and simple. Treat her like one and stop making it about her sex. Good job Simona, keep it up and don't let these idiots so desperate to market their series to get you to take off your clothes. Earn your respect on track...
    • Uuuuummmmmm...
      ......Chief, I don't think most of us want to see Simona with her clothes off. Now there are specialized websites for the fetish, but I am thinking it is a "no" from Sports Illustrated and the like for Simona in a two-piercer. Bbbbwwwwaaahhhaaaaaa!!!!!
    • Simona
      It is great to see her race so well and not have to play the "sex card" like some other driver (who we won't mention). She is the real thing, she doesn't have to play I am pretty so look at me. She says I can drive so look at me and I can take you to a podium finish. I too would like to see her get the backing and equipment to be a better contender.
    • Which "idiots"?
      Hey Chief. Which "idiots"? Last time I checked those "idiots" are the ones behind this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kFjCM2pB9M A major theme of the show (produced by the "idiots") is Simona's desire to "preserve her sexuality and sensuality"...and that "leveraging" sexuality "almost corrupts the aspects of their skill and the discipline they are in". Doesn't exactly fit in with the "idiot's" agenda, huh Chief? "Earn your respect on track" indeed Chief...precisely the message of a one-hour show about Simona produced by the "series". Who are the coercive "idiots" again Chief? BTW, enjoy the show.
    • Coercive idiots
      I was referencing Indycar in general as the idiots that set the sport back 20 years do to the Danica exploitation from 2005 to 2011. Heck, the Holmatro Safety Crew almost burnt her to a crisp so I give her credit for even surviving in this series this long.

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