Road rage ... or PMS?

Fellow race car driver Ed Carpenter says Danica Patrick drives harder "at the right time of the month." Er, OK.

Published July 14, 2006 5:53PM (EDT)

Is it National PMS Anxiety Week, or something? First, Washington Post staff writer David Segal fretted about hormonally affected women gorging on chocolate. Now, several Broadsheet readers have tipped us off to the sexist sniping race car driver Ed Carpenter has been doing about trailblazing female racer Danica Patrick. Carpenter, who, Sports Illustrated notes, "trails Patrick by four slots in the IRL IndyCar Series' points race," had this to say about Patrick's performance:

"I think Danica's pretty aggressive in our cars. I mean, you know especially if you catch her at the right time of the month, she might be trading plenty of paint out there."

With tired lines like those, it's no wonder Patrick's leaving this guy in the dust. Are he and the guys sitting around with a calendar trying to pinpoint Patrick's ovulation or something? What a bonehead.

Later in the interview, Carpenter acknowledged that Patrick has seen some gender bias (without copping to any personal responsibility for that bias, alas): "She's kind of leading the way for her team and putting up the best results for her team. She's going to get shoved around over there just because she's a girl, but I think she's going to be able to hold her own."

But while Carpenter's throwback attitude is disheartening, we're still inclined to agree with Feministing's tongue-in-cheek take: "Who knew being on the rag would help you on the road?" Jessica wrote Thursday. Aggression isn't a bad thing, and I'm glad Patrick's out there showing them how it's done.

Especially since Patrick herself took the high road -- and got in a subtle zinger of her own. "That sounds like a good joke to me, it's pretty funny to me," she told SI. "No big deal. Ed is a really nice guy ... I'm glad he's showing some personality."

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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