TO:, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press, The Sporting News, USA Today, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, Jim Rome, AOL, Yahoo, MSN
FROM: Susan Wade
RE: Ron Capps winning the NHRA's Arizona Nationals





susan_01.jpgM E M O

TO:, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press, The Sporting News, USA Today, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, Jim Rome, AOL, Yahoo, MSN
FROM: Susan Wade
RE: Ron Capps winning the NHRA's Arizona Nationals

Gentlemen, please feel free to use the following article:
Capps Continues Male Milestone At Firebird International Raceway
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 24, 2013) -- Ron Capps, of Carlsbad, Calif., carried the banner for male drag racers Sunday, winning the Funny Car trophy at the National Hot Rod Association's Arizona Nationals at Chandler, near Phoenix.
The NAPA Dodge Charger driver took the points lead and led a winners circle that included Top Fuel's Tony Schumacher and another female winner, Erica Enders-Stevens in Pro Stock.

It marked the first time this season that a man has won the Funny Car final, after Castrol Ford Mustang driver Courtney Force set the bar at the season-opening Winternationals in February at Pomona, Calif.

Capps said after beating Matt Hagan with a 4.064-second elapsed time at 314.90 mph that he's a bit uncomfortable with the label "male racer," that he simply would like to be known as a racer, period.
"You know, the NHRA has had male racers and winners -- champions -- for quite some time now," he said. "It just seems a little old-news that we're still talking about men behind the wheel. We're kind of over that. Maybe NASCAR thinks it's a big deal, but drag racing doesn't bother discussing gender or race."
But Capps, undeniably popular with drag-racing's female fans, can't help but draw attention because of his gender and his passionately playful television commercials for his sponsor. Moreover, Capps is involved in a bracketed "March Man-ness" promotion by San Diego radio station Star 94.1-FM to crown the city's hottest male celebrity.
Making the connection between male racers winning in the NHRA and in NASCAR, Enders-Stevens said she has a lucky charm in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, whose testosterone-fueled victories seem to coincide with her victories in the NHRA.
So the men were reclaiming the racing laurels both East and West Sunday after polesitter Danica Patrick claimed much of the spotlight for a week and Courtney Force qualified No. 1 at the Winternationals, won the Funny Car trophy, set low elapsed time of the meet, and punctuated her final-round pass with a 317.12-mph speed.
Sunday was a day for the men to shine. Schumacher beat Morgan Lucas, winning in 4.606 seconds at 213.20 mph. The male-mania deflated a bit when Enders-Stevens defeated No. 1 qualifier Mike Edwards in the final round. He had the class' low E.T. and top speed of the weekend.

TO:, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press, The Sporting News, USA Today, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, Jim Rome, AOL, Yahoo, MSN
FROM: Susan Wade
RE: Just how silly did that sound?!

Yes, that story was absurd. But it was no more absurd than your embarrassing toadying to NASCAR's woman-on-parade Danica-and-pony show -- all while ignoring back-to-back races with female winners in a major motorsports series that for decades has needed no diversity program.
Honestly, you should be ashamed to be nothing more than data-entry clerks, snickering at your own sexual inuendoes. Granted, Patrick herself is not much help. So far she has failed to understand why her male colleagues just can't quite sort out her message. On one hand she behaves in her sponsor ads on TV likes she's ready to unbuckle and give new meaning to "Go Daddy" and on the other, she wants them to respect her as a serious race-car driver.
The Force women (Ashley, Brittany, and Courtney), Leah Pruett, Alexis DeJoria, Enders-Stevens, and the dozens of women before them -- who, by the way, are equally attractive and plenty smart -- never needed to "brand" themselves as something saucy. They knew who they were and what they could do in a race car. (Same for IndyCar's female racers.) And they knew that spoke for itself. Perhaps Patrick should market who she really is and let that be good enough for people.
But who knows? Maybe America responds to the lowest common denominator when it comes to behavior from its "celebrities." Otherwise we never would have heard of Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. Maybe Patrick will be richer in the long run than any drag-racing female. But self-respect is priceless.
Anyway, really, you reporters should have set the professional tone. But you couldn't resist. For example, The Sporting News laced its lap-by-lap account with sexual overtones and spun in some People Magazine-like tee-hees about her relationship with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr:
"Lap 94 (Jeff): And for the record, Ricky is running 14th. Danica is spanking him, so to speak.
"Lap 6 (Jeff): Wondering now if Gordon and Danica didn't have a plan. She's tucked up right behind him, right between him and Kyle Busch. Pretty good place to be—on the track, I mean.
"1:18 (Jeff) — Tony Stewart just shown whispering secrets to Danica. Doubt they were sweet nothings."
Goodness -- does The Sporting News have an H.R. Department or is it run by leering men?
Maybe you could follow the plentiful examples of drag-racing writers, who cover the women of the sport with respect.
So while NASCAR is 0-1 with its "Lookie! We got girls!" experiment, the NHRA has received no attention. USA Today, you didn’t have even an agate-page mention of Enders-Stevens winning the day Patrick ultimately was an also-ran.
"Wait a minute -- Patrick drove a great race for most of the day," you say? She did. But close counts only in horseshoes and drive-in movies, fellas. NHRA's women know how to seal the deal.
Did you know that outside your little NASCAR bubble, both Courtney Force and Enders-Stevens went to the winners circle together at Seattle -- last August? (And stop thinking the headline I think you're thinking.) But this year's victories were No. 2 for Force and No. 5 for Enders-Stevens.
Oh, and just so you know, the NHRA has had females recording 90 No. 1 qualifying positions, 92 victories by female racers, and two three-time female pro champions. It also has had five pro championships among three Hispanic racers, its reigning Top Fuel champion is African-American.
It took John Force, the 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion, to put it in perspective. He told Michael Knight of the Arizona Republic newspaper, "I get that Danica got the pole is a big deal, but it is not like she delivered the baby Jesus."
If you want to do Patrick any favors, cover her as a racer, not a femme fatale racer.
With evidence that young girls are looking up to her, Patrick expressed surprise: "I have no idea. I don't get it," she told The Sporting News. "I don't know where it is coming from . . . once they are in school, if it's part of some curriculum."
OK, so with such self-flattery, maybe the moment would be lost on Patrick herself. After all, she prefaced her news of a jump from the IZOD IndyCar Series to NASCAR by calling it "breaking news that will shock the world." But you might want to respect your daughters and granddaughters. Would you be proud to subject them to the twaddle you're printing today?
"I enjoy being inspirational to these kids," Patrick said. She easily could have included all of you fawning reporters. Instead she added, "I'd love to know why."
Me, too.
There's something for you folks to investigate.


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