Open wheel racing fans everywhere greeted the news about the U.K.'s Katherine Legge moving up to a Champ Car ride with "at last, something fresh to bitch about."
On Valentine's Day PKV racing co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven announced that Legge will become the first woman to have a full-time ride in the Champ Car World Series in a really long time. Legge wowed Kalkhoven in her off-season tests.
Hard-core racing fans, notorious for their ability to bitch about virtually anything, immediately set upon the announcement as "gimmick" designed to answer the popularity of IRL 2005 Rookie of the Year Sensation Danica Patrick (5-1, 100 pounds).
"Tell me Kalkhoven didn't see the dollar signs raining down on the Rahal-Letterman pit with every lap Danica turned," said one online poster. "He wanted in on that ovary-based gravy train."
Last season Legge won three races in the Toyota Atlantics, a feeder league for Champ Car. ("Yeah, but who did she race?") Kalkhoven said in 2005 he planned to give Legge another year in the minors before moving her up to the 750-horsepower Champ Cars.
"I guess that was a bunch of smoke," said one race fan who declined to be named. "KK also promised not to drape Legge over the hood of a car wearing nothing but a thong and a smile as well, but we'll see."
Overall, the reaction of racefans was generally positive, however.
"Thank God it gives us something fresh to bitch about," said one fan. "We'd about beaten the 'Danica vs. Sarah (Fisher)' thing to death, so now we can get to going on pumping slugs into the dead horse known as Danica vs. Katherine. Sweet." Sarah Fisher moved to the NASCAR feeder leagues in 2005, making comparisons to Danica pretty tired even for hard-core bitchers.
Along with a raging debate as to who should have gotten the ride instead of Legge and how trying to cash in on the marketing aspect of Legge's gender "was totally no fair," posters have already delved into the critical, race-related area of breast size and physically attractiveness. Other message board threads are expected to focus on Danica vs. Katherine vs. NHRA legend Shirley Muldowny; Katherine Legge compared to Katherine Zeta Jones and the natural comparison of Katherine Legge to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Hey, all I'm saying is, Hillary and Katherine are both women," said one veteran complainer. "It's legit to debate which would make better foreign policy decisions. Plus, there's a woman in a Brazilian Friday-night stock car league that could totally beat Katherine -- totally."
Race freaks expect the elevation of Legge to "at least get us through July. I totally think we can milk it. Every accomplishment either Katherine or Danica makes -- or, hell, even Sarah Fisher -- can spawn five arguments about whether the other women could have done it better. It's almost like Christmas in February. Plus, Legge is a foreigner, so, you know, bonus."
In other news, in light of Michael Andretti's announced return to the track for another try at the Indy 500, open-wheel legend Rick Mears said he "might start looking for my old helmet at home." Race fans immediately began a fierce debate over who had better hair, Mears or Legge.